Understanding the “Reasonable Person” Standard in a Negligence Claim

Lever & Ecker, PLLC October 29, 2021 Personal injury

Negligence is one of the most common underlying causes of accidents resulting in personal injuries. The extent of negligence attributed to a person or entity helps determine their liability. The “reasonable person” standard is part of this process. Understanding the reasonable person standard is an important part of winning you compensation for your pain and suffering. 

Lever & Ecker, PLLC specializes in navigating the reasonable person standard in negligence claims. Proper application of this standard in personal injury cases is key to a successful outcome. 

What Is the Reasonable Person Standard in a Negligence Claim?

Proving a negligence claim is predicated on the ability to prove a failure of care that a reasonable person might use under the same circumstances. The idea behind this standard is to show that if a failure in conduct or an omission of any kind results in harm, the individual is responsible for damage, including those of a financial nature. The standard for “reasonableness” in this case is characterized by prudence or caution. 

The reasonable person standard is proven by common sense. For example, a property owner who failed to fix a broken handrail on a ramp – knowing that it is foreseeable that the broken handrail could result in injury – might be considered negligent because they did not act reasonably. However, the standard may change based on the circumstances surrounding the case. 

Who Decides What a Reasonable Person Would Have Done?

A jury in a personal injury case may be called on to determine what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation. The burden is on the person who was injured (the plaintiff) to prove that the harm was foreseeable. For example, a store owner who allows a leak to persist in a high-traffic area should have known doing so could result in harm. 

A qualified New York personal injury attorney is well-versed in these issues, to argue in support of their client regarding the reasonable person standard at trial. 

Children are the Exception to the “Reasonable Person” Standard

As we all well know, children do not behave in the same manner as adults, and therefore they are the exception to the “reasonable person” standard. Instead, the modified standard compares their conduct to that of other children who are of similar age, and who have similar experiences and knowledge. 

Navigate a Negligence Case with a New York Personal Injury Lawyer 

Given the sometimes subjective nature of claims involving negligence, one way to ensure that you give yourself the best opportunity for a successful outcome is by working with a qualified New York personal injury lawyer. Lever & Ecker, PLLC has a track record of success in negligence cases where the reasonable person standard must be employed. We know the nuances of adhering to this standard and can skillfully present the facts of the case to convince a jury to favorably apply the standard. 

Even if you are settling out of court, the standard may apply in the context of any negotiations on personal injury damages awarded in the case. 

Consult with a New York Personal Injury Lawyer on Reasonable Person Standards

If you are trying to determine how the reasonable person standard might apply to your situation, get expert help from a New York personal injury lawyer. Lever & Ecker, PLLC can help you determine the viability of your negligence case. 

Schedule a free consultation today by calling (914) 288-9191 or (718) 933-3632, or contact us online. Our team is standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we also offer evening and weekend appointments.

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