What Is Considered A “Reasonable Person” When It Comes To Negligence?

Most cases involving personal injury are founded on the legal theory of negligence. In car accident, premises liability, medical malpractice, and other personal injury cases, negligence is a factor.

What is the Standard for a Reasonable Person?

There is no singular definition of a ” reasonable person ” A reasonable person, however, is described as having “common sense.” Being prudent means you are cautious. Consequently, a reasonable person approaches a situation with caution and acts sensibly based on the facts and circumstances.

The standard of reasonableness is a “objective standard.” It does not inquire whether you were justified in acting or not acting in a given circumstance. It inquires whether a reasonable person would have acted similarly.

A reasonably prudent landlord would, for instance, repair a defective handrail that could cause someone to fall. Ignoring the broken handrail is neither sensible nor prudent.

Another example would be a driver who chooses to drive while intoxicated . A prudent and reasonable person is aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and would have chosen an alternate mode of transportation.

The reasonable person standard may vary depending on the circumstances of the case. It does not imply that a person must be flawless. No one is flawless.

Given the circumstances, if a reasonable person would have made the same mistake or error, the party at fault may not be liable for damages. In some instances, an accident or injury may have been unavoidable regardless of how a reasonable person might have acted. In that case, the at-fault party might not be liable for circumstances beyond his control.

Juries Determine What a Reasonable Person Would Have Done

It is up to the jury to determine what a reasonable person would have done given the facts of the case. In most cases, it is necessary to demonstrate that the risk of harm was foreseeable by a reasonable person.

For instance, allowing a drain to leak onto the floor of your store is a foreseeable hazard when customers are in the vicinity. Because of the water on the floor, a person could slip and fall. A reasonable person would anticipate the potential for harm and take measures to clean up the water or warn others of the danger.

When a risk is predictable, the individual knew or could have known about the danger. They were aware or should have been aware that their actions could cause injury or harm to another individual. However, the individual chose to proceed despite the risk. An attorney for the victim may also offer an alternative action that a reasonable person would have taken to avoid the risk.

The jury must objectively evaluate the facts and circumstances of the case through the eyes of a reasonable person. A jury may find a party liable for the victim’s damages if that party acted unreasonably.

Children Are the Exception to the Reasonable Person Standard

In general, children are not held to the standard of a reasonable person. One cannot expect a child to have the maturity and knowledge to behave similarly to an adult. Consequently, courts frequently apply a modified standard to determine the reasonableness of a child’s conduct.

Typically, the child’s behaviour is compared to that of a child of the same age, level of experience, and level of knowledge. However, there may be situations where an adult standard applies. Complex cases are evaluated based on the relevant facts and circumstances.

Negligence and the Reasonable Person

Your personal injury case is significantly impacted by the reasonable person standard. Concerning what is prudent and what dangers and risks should be foreseen, jurors may hold strong opinions.

It is essential to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer with trial experience knows how to present the case’s facts so that jurors can view the situation as a reasonable person would. Evidence presentation is an essential aspect of trial work.

When disputes are settled outside of court, the reasonable person standard is less relevant. You are not required to demonstrate what a reasonable person would have or would not have done in a similar circumstance. The other party admits they are responsible for your damages, so the only issue to be resolved is the value of your claim.

However, the standard of a reasonable person could cast a shadow over the settlement negotiations. If the opposing party believes that your evidence is weak, it may settle your claim for a lesser amount.

You and your attorney will decide whether to settle the case or proceed to trial. In either scenario, the reasonable person’s role in a personal injury case cannot be discounted.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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