Adverse medical malpractice verdicts are appealed to the state courts of appeals, which affirm, reverse or partially reverse trial courts' decisions, according to Cochran Firm Metaire. When reversed, cases are often returned to the lower courts for retrial. The courts of appeals can also rule their reversal decisions final.
U.S. courts of appeals set strict deadlines for filing appeals, states Cochran Firm Metaire. The courts of appeals also narrowly define the scope of issues they consider. They apply rigid standards to their review of those issues. The courts of appeals review alleged errors in judicial processes without deference to the lower courts. However, for issues raised on a factual basis, courts of appeals must defer to the lower courts' rulings unless the lower courts' findings of fact are in egregious error. U.S. courts of appeals affirm the vast majority of cases they hear. Of the small percentage of appellate cases that are reversed, only a fraction are reversed completely.
Adverse decisions from the courts of appeals are appealed to the state supreme courts through a writ to the appropriate supreme court, notes Cochran Firm Metaire. The state supreme courts agree to hear only a tiny fraction of writs they receive, and their decisions are final.