At Neal Gibbons Attorney at Law, we handle personal injury cases ranging from car and motorcycle accidents to dog bites, slips, falls, and burn cases, as well as many other non-work-related personal injury cases. Neal has over 30 years of experience in handling criminal defense and personal injury cases. Call the Law Offices of Neal Gibbons at (619) 850-6325, so we may discuss your case and answer any questions you have about retaining an experienced personal injury lawyer in San Diego County.
Our firm is the best in the business and includes attorneys with extensive courtroom experience devoted to protecting our client’s 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 other law firms and us 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 that requires that he or she conduct himself according to a reasonable person’s standard so as to avoid unreasonable risk to others. If someone fails to conform to 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 the 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 the defendant’s act of negligence and the harm suffered by the plaintiff. This is a “proximate cause.”
– Damage: Actual damage suffered by the 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 the 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 the defendant’s conduct, viewed as of the time it occurred, without the 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 the defendant’s conduct is viewed as an objective standard. The jury must then determine, would a “reasonable person of ordinary prudence” in the defendant’s position have acted the same way. The defendant does not escape liability merely because she intended to behave carefully or thought she was behaving carefully. If the 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 the 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.
– 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: The 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.