What is the Reasonable Person Standard in an Injury Claim?

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Law
  • Post comments:0 Comments
  • Post last modified:June 20, 2022
  • Reading time:7 mins read

One of the legal tools to prove negligence in an injury case is the reasonable person standard. Without the assistance of an experienced attorney, however, it is not easy to prove that a defendant failed to meet the reasonable persons standard.

Find out what the role of the reasonable individual in proving negligence is and how it can impact the outcome of your claim.

Are you being injured because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness? The legal team at Goldberg Finnegan can help if you are. Silver Spring’s personal injury lawyers have been representing Maryland victims for many decades. Our clients have received millions of dollars in damages and we have a solid track record of success. In a free consultation, you can learn more about your rights and receive answers to all of your questions.

What is the Reasonable Person Standard in an Injury Claim?

It does not apply to a person who is actually living. It is a model of an ideal person. It is used to illustrate how a normal person would behave under certain circumstances.

What is the point?

This legal standard is helpful to a jury in an injury case. It helps the jury gain clarity on the defendant’s actions and reactions after an accident. The jury will compare the actions and inactions of the defendant to the actions and reasoning of a reasonable person under similar circumstances.

It is important that you understand that the reasonable person doesn’t necessarily mean a perfect person. Sometimes, even though a defendant might have committed an error, they may still be found negligent.

It can be difficult to build a case against someone for negligence. A knowledgeable attorney can help injury victims.

What the Reasonable Person Standard may mean for an injury claim

A plaintiff (injured party), or his/her attorney, must prove:

The driver should have known or had to know that his or her actions were incorrect, such as speeding through a school zone.

Harm was pre-determined; the driver could see that his or her actions might cause injury or other damages.

What actions would a reasonable person take in the same situation? Stopping at a red light.

This standard is used to prove that a defendant was negligent. This is crucial to any injury case because it shows that a defendant was negligent.

Many personal injury cases can be complicated. In Maryland, the contributory negligence law allows insurers to avoid paying a claim if the victim is even 1% liable. An experienced attorney can help you level the playing field.

What are some examples of a reasonable person in other situations?

Many types of negligence can cause injuries and other damages. These are just some examples of how a reasonable person might behave in a dangerous situation.

Property or Business Owners

Invitees to their property are owed a duty by landowners, business owners, or sometimes property managers. These invitees might visit the property to shop or for business purposes. The law requires these property and business owners to keep their premises clean and free from hazards.

If a property owner took reasonable steps to protect others, they would:

  • Beware of wet floors, broken glass and other debris
  • Repair potholes in parking lots and replace damaged lights
  • Trip hazards can be repaired in the entranceway or throughout a shop

Commercial and non-commercial drivers

Drivers of trucks, buses, or personal vehicles have a duty to protect themselves and others.

Take reasonable precautions when driving includes:

  • Respecting state and federal traffic laws, such as obeying stop signs and using turns signals
  • Driving while impaired or fatigued by alcohol or any other substance is not recommended.
  • Safe operation of the vehicle requires regular maintenance
  • Avoiding distractions such as cellphones and other forms of communication


Pedestrians are more vulnerable to traffic but they also owe a duty of care both to themselves and others.

A sensible or reasonable pedestrian would:

  • Do not dart onto the road and fail to check for oncoming traffic, even if they had the right-of way
  • Don’t use your cellphone to text, message or converse until you are out of sight
  • Do not cross the street if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Crosswalks are a good idea. But, before you cross the street, always check for traffic.
  • To be visible to drivers, wear reflective clothing during low-light hours and at night.

Is there a limit or exception to the Reasonable Person Standard

There are exceptions to the reasonable individual standard. For example, children are not held to the same care obligation as adults. Children are not as capable of making decisions, have the same level of knowledge and experience as adults. This exception may vary depending on the circumstances and the child’s age.

There may be exceptions for professionals who are held to higher standards than the average person.

  • Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals
  • Nursing home caregivers and long-term care nurses
  • Officers of the police and emergency first responders
  • Truck drivers for commercial companies
  • Bus drivers or other drivers who are responsible for transporting passengers

Do you need legal help? Get legal help from our trusted law firm today

We encourage you to immediately seek legal assistance if you have been injured by the negligence of another party. Get answers to all your questions and find out if you have any legal options in our free case review. It is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible in order to avoid any mistakes that could damage your claim.

Goldberg Finnegan are available to discuss your case at Goldberg Finnegan. There are no fees or upfront costs if you have a case. Only if you get paid, we get paid. Call Goldberg Finnegan Attorney today for legal help. Phone: (888) 213-8140

Leave a Reply