What does it mean to act as a reasonable person would act?

The “reasonable person” standard is a legal concept in personal injury law that is used when Courts or juries consider whether to hold a person accountable  for injuring another person or for damaging the other person’s property.

Sometimes accidents happen. In many instances, injury is not intentional. The question arises-how do Courts and juries decide whether the individual who harmed another person is liable? Should they pay for damages?

The reasonable person in personal injury law

Whether the individual, who caused harm, acted as a “reasonable person” is a factor that courts and juries consider in personal injury cases. In other words, did the defendant act as a “reasonable person”, or, were they negligent or acting with reckless disregard? Could they have prevented the accident, but instead failed to act within the time a reasonable person would have acted?

What is the definition of a reasonable person?

A reasonable person is the legal standard that a jury or judge must evaluate in a case. They must determine whether the person acted as a reasonable person in connection with the accident.

When making their decision, consideration is given  to the  nature  of the  person involved. For example, a child is held to the standard of how other children  of the same age would respond, not to adult standards.  Or, for  example,  a blind person  is held to the standard of how other blind people would respond, not to the standard of someone with sight.

What if a driver is supposed to wear glasses, but forgets to wear them, and their poor eyesight causes them to hit a pedestrian? The court or jury  would find the driver negligent, as the right to drive depended on wearing glasses, and the failure to do so would be a legal violation.

Likewise, when drivers violate traffic laws and cause accidents, they are not acting as a reasonable person. Legal violations are not reasonable.

Do you need legal help with a personal injury claim?

When someone else’s negligence seriously harms you, you should seek legal help. A lawsuit can help you recover compensation for damages. To arrange a free consultation, contact Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP. Call us 516-248-2234 and 718-539-3100, or reach out to us through our contact form.