What is Considered a “Reasonable Person” When it Comes to Negligence?
Paul Brannon | April 1, 2022 | Personal Injury
The reasonable person standard is the legal standard used to determine whether a person can be held liable for damages caused by their actions. It is a prominent aspect of determining whether a party was negligent.
The reasonable person standard is based on a theoretical person, who is assumed to be of average intelligence, ability, and knowledge. This standard is used in order to protect people from being responsible for damages that were beyond their control.
The law recognizes a reasonable person as someone who behaves in a prudent manner, taking into account the risks and potential consequences of their actions.
A reasonable person would weigh the risks and consider the possible outcomes before making a decision, and they would act in a way that would be expected of a rational, reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances.
This hypothetical reasonable person is who we are compared to when something we do causes an accident or otherwise harms another person. It is the standard by which we are judged, and when our conduct falls below this reasonable person standard, it is said that we are negligent.
When Is a Person Considered to Be Negligent in Florida?
In almost any setting involving almost every person, there exists what’s known as a standard (or duty) of care.
For example, while driving a car, we owe the other drivers around us a duty to not be careless and cause an accident. If we manufacture a product, we owe a duty of care to consumers that it will not be defective and cause harm.
The reason why we, as a society, abide by these standards of care is because of our interest in freedom from harm that comes from unanticipated accidents caused by the negligence of others.
When our conduct falls below the standard of care of a reasonable person, we are considered to be negligent. We must ask ourselves, how would a prudent and reasonable person have acted under the same circumstances?
What Happens if Someone Is Injured Due to Negligence?
When someone’s standard of care falls below that of a reasonable person, they can be held liable for the harm they cause.
If someone is injured due to another person’s negligence, they may be able to file a lawsuit against the person or company that caused their injury. This type of lawsuit is known as a personal injury lawsuit.
Typically, a person suing for personal injury is able to recover monetary damages for things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, the injured person must prove that the other party’s conduct fell below the standard of a reasonable person and show that their negligence caused the injury.
In the case of a car accident, most insurance companies will cover the damages caused by their insured policyholder, but what happens if there isn’t enough insurance to cover the other person’s losses? What if the negligence is not automobile-related?
If a person is sued for damages because their negligence caused someone harm, a court could order the seizure of their assets or garnish their wages to pay the judgment.
How Do I Sue Someone For Negligence?
Determining what a reasonable person would do can be difficult, and it often requires the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney.
If you believe you have been the victim of someone else’s negligence, it’s a good idea to seek the counsel and advice of an attorney with experience in fighting negligence cases.
An attorney can help you gather evidence to support your case and can negotiate with the other party’s attorney on your behalf. If negotiations fail or if the other party refuses to settle, your attorney can represent you in court.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541