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Maitland Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > What Is The Reasonable Person Standard?

What Is The Reasonable Person Standard?


When pursuing a personal injury case, you will undoubtedly find yourselves hearing about the “reasonable person standard.” This term, which is a critical part of proving a negligence claim, requires judges and juries to make decisions based on how a reasonable person would have acted in a certain situation. It is when this standard is not satisfied, or when a defendant’s conduct was not that of a reasonable person, that someone can be held liable for causing a plaintiff’s injury. The reasonable person standard is only one of the many complicated nuances that accompany personal injury claims, making it especially important for those who have been injured in accidents through no fault of their own, to reach out to an experienced Altamonte Springs personal injury lawyer for guidance.

Who is the Reasonable Person?

The reasonable person referred to in the reasonable person standard is a hypothetical person, who is basically an ordinary, law-abiding individual. This standard asks whether a particular individual acted in a way that a person of reasonable prudence would act in the same situation. Rather than referring to an actual person, the reasonable person standard is essentially the legally appropriate way to respond to a situation.

What Would a Reasonable Person Do?

In a personal injury case, a jury is tasked with assessing a defendant’s actions in a particular situation and then comparing that conduct to what a reasonable person would have done if in the same position. If a defendant’s conduct falls short of that standard, meaning that he or she didn’t act with the proper level of care, then that person will be deemed to have acted negligently. This in turn, means that a defendant can be held financially liable for a plaintiff’s damages, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Applying the Reasonable Person Standard

All drivers in Florida have a legal duty to follow traffic laws, which are specifically designed to protect people and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. A reasonable person, therefore, follows these traffic laws, as doing so would be negligent. For example, an ordinary person knows that driving while intoxicated is not only against the law, but is extremely dangerous to anyone else on the road. If a person drove while drunk and caused an accident, a jury would likely conclude that the defendant was negligent because his or her actions fell far below the standard of care that a reasonable person would have used.

It’s also important to note that there are exceptions to the reasonable person standard. If, for instance, there was no way that a reasonable person could have foreseen how specific conduct could cause an injury, then he or she will not usually be deemed negligent. Similarly, a jury could also find that an injury would have happened regardless of a defendant’s actions, which could also absolve that person of fault for an accident.

Legal Advice When in Need

The reasonable person standard is only one element that must be established in a negligence case. To learn more about this standard and the other aspects of a negligence claim, please reach out to our experienced Altamonte Springs personal injury lawyers at Goldman Law, P.A. by calling 407-960-1900 today.



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