Personal Injury

At the Law offices of Neal Gibbons and Associates, we handle personal injury cases ranging from car and motorcycle accidents, to dog bites, slips and falls, and burn cases, as well as many other non-work related personal injury cases. Neal has over 30 years experience in handling criminal defense and personal injury cases. Call the Law offices of Neal Gibbons at (619) 497-2599 so we may discuss your case and answer any questions you have about retaining an experienced attorney.

Our firm is devoted to protecting our clients’ best interests. If you or your family member has been harmed in an accident, we understand that you are going through a very emotional time. On top of dealing with all of the emotional stress, having to choose an attorney can be an overwhelming endeavor. The difference between us and other law firms, is that we care about the outcome of your case. We are completely dedicated and want to maximize the amount of compensation that you receive. Sometimes it is possible to settle the case out of court, which can save time and money. However, there are many instances in which insurance companies are not willing to pay for damages until a complaint is filed with the court. At the Law offices of Neal Gibbons, we are willing to do what is necessary to get the best possible outcome for you.

“Personal injury” refers to the area of law that seeks to protect victims who are harmed by the negligence of another person or entity. Negligence is defined as the failure to act with the prudence that a reasonable person, under the same circumstances, would have exercised. Negligence occurs when a defendant’s conduct imposes an unreasonable risk upon another, which results in injury to that person.

Every person has a legal duty which requires that he or she conduct himself according to a reasonable person standard, so as to avoid unreasonable risk to others. If someone fails to conform with that duty and causes injury to another person, he or she may be liable for the damages caused.

The tort of “negligence” occurs when a defendant’s conduct imposes an unreasonable risk upon another, which results in injury to that person. It is interesting to note that the negligent actor’s mental state is irrelevant.

The components of a negligence action are:

– Duty: A legal duty requiring defendant to conduct himself according to a certain standard, so as to avoid unreasonable risk to others.
– Failure to conform: This element can be thought of as “carelessness.”
– Proximate cause: A sufficiently close causal link between defendants act of negligence and the harm suffered by plaintiff. This is “proximate cause.”
– Damage: Actual damage suffered by plaintiff.

Generally, a person owes everyone else with whom he comes in contact a general “duty of care.” Normally, you don’t have to worry about this duty – it is the same in all instances, the duty to behave with the care that would be shown by a reasonable person. A personal injury plaintiff must show that defendant’s conduct imposed an unreasonable risk of harm on him. It is not enough for a personal injury plaintiff to show that a defendant’s conduct resulted in a terrible injury. Rather, the personal injury plaintiff must show that defendants conduct, viewed as of the time it occurred, without benefit of hindsight, imposed an unreasonable risk of harm.

When determining whether the risk of harm from D’s conduct was so great as to be “unreasonable,” courts use a balancing test:

“Where an act is one which a reasonable person would recognize as involving a risk of harm to another, the risk is unreasonable and the act is negligent if the risk is of such magnitude as to outweigh what the law regards as the utility of the act or of the particular manner in which it is done.”

Thus, the reasonableness of Defendant’s conduct is viewed as an objective standard. The jury must then determine, would a “reasonable person of ordinary prudence,” in Defendant’s position, have acted the same way? Defendant does not escape liability merely because she intended to behave carefully or thought she was behaving carefully. If Defendant has a physical disability, the standard for negligence is what a reasonable person with that physical disability would have done. The ordinary reasonable person is not deemed to have the particular mental characteristics of Defendant. Once negligence has been proven the Plaintiff may recover damages.

Damages, may include:

– Loss of Functioning: The value of any direct loss of bodily functions. E.g.: Actual monetary compensation for the loss of a leg.

– Economic Damages: Out-of-pocket losses stemming from the injury. E.g.: Medical expenses, lost earnings

– Pain and suffering: Damages for pain and suffering caused as a result of the injury.

– Hedonistic damages: Damages for loss of the ability to enjoy one’s prior life. E.g.: Compensation for loss of the ability to walk, even if loss of that ability has no economic consequences.

– Future damages: Plaintiff brings only one action for a particular accident, and recovers in that action not only for past damages, but also for likely future damages. If you, or a loved one have been injured you may be entitled to compensation.