North Carolina Appellate Court Dismisses Appeal as Premature in Rear-End Car Accident Case

When you are injured in a car accident, you can bring a personal injury claim against the driver of the vehicle that caused the crash. This may seem like a fairly straightforward process, but lawsuits can be incredibly complicated. The North Carolina civil court system also has countless procedural rules that must be followed in order for you to receive compensation. One of the best things you can do to protect your rights following a personal injury accident is to seek guidance from an experienced Charlotte car accident lawyer. At Maurer Law, our team has assisted numerous individuals with understanding their rights and the best way to proceed after an accident.

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeal considered whether the trial court made a reversible error when it granted a motion for a new trial in a case involving a car accident. The plaintiff in the lawsuit alleged that he was rear-ended by the defendant while his car was stopped at a red light. The jury concluded that the defendant was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries and awarded $500 in damages. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial on the issue of damages. More specifically, the plaintiff challenged statements made to the jury asking it to consider the financial impact of a verdict on the defendant’s finances and statements indicating that the defendant did not have liability insurance to assist with paying a judgment. The court granted the motion for a new trial and the defendant appealed.

Before the appellate court can review the merits of an appeal, however, it must first determine whether it has jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The defendant in this case acknowledged that his appeal was interlocutory. This means that it was an appeal coming before a final disposition in the case. The appellate court noted that because the motion for a new trial only granted a new trial on the issue of damages, it was not appealable. N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 7A-27(b)(3) specifically provides that motions granting partial new trials are not eligible for appeal.

The appellate court did not find any other reason in the defendant’s appellate brief to proceed with reviewing the lower court’s grant of a new trial, such as showing that a substantial right would be affected if the defendant’s appeal was not heard.  In this instance, the defendant would need to wait until there was a final order in the matter to file his appeal. Based on this, the appellate court dismissed the appeal.

Car accidents can be one of the most stressful situations that you will experience in your life especially if you suffer painful injuries or permanent disabilities. You may also be dealing with disruptions in your daily life like being unable to work or perform childcare. While you are busy coping with your injuries, our seasoned team of Charlotte car accident lawyers will assist you with your personal injury lawsuit. To schedule a free consultation call us at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online to get started.

Contact Information