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What does “reasonable person” mean in negligence cases?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2022 | Personal Injury

Most personal injury claims in Texas stem from another person’s negligence. A person can be found liable if their conduct leading up to the accident and subsequent injury is considered beyond the scope of reasonable person. It’s crucial to know what “reasonable person” means in injury claims.

Understanding negligence

In personal injury cases, negligence must be proven. Understanding the concept of negligence can help to explain what “reasonable person” means. Negligence that causes injury to a victim means the defendant failed to use a level of care that a reasonable person would have used in similar circumstances. For example, drivers are supposed to follow traffic laws, but an accident caused by reckless driving could result in serious injuries. A reasonable person would operate their vehicle safely.

Negligence can be proven in an injury case by establishing four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damages. The argument could be made that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care but breached it. The breach of that duty directly led to the plaintiff’s damages, which includes their injuries.

Reasonable person standard explained

The reasonable person standard relates to a person’s conduct or behavior at the time of the accident that resulted in the victim’s injury. In a personal injury case, the jury examines the evidence and makes a decision on what constitutes a “reasonable person” and whether they would have done the same thing in a similar situation.

There’s one exception to the reasonable person standard; children cannot be held to the same standard as adults. However, it depends on the child’s age as teens who drive or perform other activities that adults do could be held liable if they injure someone.