Judges who preside over Texas personal injury cases have an immense amount of influence over the outcome of the case. While the judge is not usually the one who makes the ultimate determination regarding a defendant’s liability (that issue is reserved for the jury), judges make all pre-trial and evidentiary rulings that come up throughout the trial. Thus, it has been said that a judge creates the “landscape” in which a case is brought.
Of course, judges are elected officials who, at the end of the day, are human and can make mistakes. For this reason, the Texas court system allows a party who believes that a judge made a legal error during the proceedings to appeal the issue to a higher court. Typically, appellate courts will only review the issues that are raised on appeal, and will only hear claims that comply with the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Appellate courts are designed to resolve conflicts between trial courts and to correct incorrect applications of the law. For example, if a court in Dallas is resolving an issue of state law differently than a court in San Antonio, an appellate court may decide to hear a case that presents the issue to clarify how the law should be interpreted. Also, appellate courts can reverse incorrect rulings that were made by trial judges.