The Reasonable Person Standard: What It Means for Your Personal Injury Claim

When you’re injured and wish to seek compensation through a personal injury claim, there are certain required tasks on the path to monetary recovery. One of the most important parts of these claims is liability and proving the other party’s negligence caused your harm.

A personal injury attorney can use the reasonable person standard to establish the defendant’s actions were negligent, resulting in your injuries.

Negligence and the “Reasonable Person Standard”: What Does It Mean?

Personal injury claims can arise for many reasons, depending on the accident or incident. While these cases can involve intentional actions, a majority occur out of negligence.

When a person is negligent, they fail to act in the same manner a similarly situated person would act. Usually, this “similarly situated person” is looked at as the “reasonable person.”

It can be challenging to understand what this means, as it involves a hypothetical person instead of a real person. So who, or what, is a reasonable person?

Simply put, the reasonable person standard provides a basis for which the defendant in a personal injury case can be compared. While this reasonable person does not actually exist, it helps give a visual for how a person should have acted in the same situation in which the accident and injuries occurred.

One of the most common examples is the reasonable driver, which is typically one who drives safely and responsibly in an effort to keep themselves and others on the road free from harm.

If a defendant caused an accident by engaging in distracted driving, impaired driving, or other dangerous driving behaviors, they would likely be compared to the reasonable driver.

A reasonable person will look different in every case, based on the circumstances.

How This Standard Applies to Personal Injury Cases

When pursuing compensation through a personal injury claim, you’ll need to establish the other party’s negligence. The necessary elements of negligence include:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation
  • Damages

You can use the reasonable person standard to establish the first two prongs of negligence — the defendant owed you a duty of care, and their actions (or inaction) breached this duty of care. A “reasonable person” would have taken their duty of care seriously and not done, or failed to do, anything that would cause your harm.

Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Negligence is a critical part of a personal injury claim. A personal injury lawyer at the Harlan Law Firm can prove the defendant was negligent and is, therefore, liable.

Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our skilled personal injury lawyers.