What is Considered Reasonable Care in a Personal Injury Case?
In many types of personal injury cases, one of the legal principles that will play a role in proving negligence is the “duty of care.” For example, all drivers on the road have an assumed “duty of care” to other drivers to exercise reasonable care and caution while behind the wheel, which includes following all the rules of the road. As another example, property owners have a “duty of care” to keep their property reasonably safe for people with permission to be on their property.
The word “reasonable” gives a lot of leeway in each of these examples. When a person files a personal injury claim, they must prove the defendant failed to exercise “reasonable” care, which led to their injury. But what is or is not reasonable in a given case?
The standard of reasonable care
The standard of what is “reasonable” will vary from case to case and is open to interpretation—quite purposefully so, in fact. Here are a few common examples of a failure to exercise reasonable care.
- A speeding driver travels through an intersection without stopping at a stop sign, crashing into another driver who had the right of way.
- A property owner fails to warn guests about the presence of a dangerous dog, and fails to properly restrain that dog. The dog then bites a guest.
- A roof leak occurs at a store, resulting in puddles forming on the floor. Some time passes and, despite knowledge of the leak, the owner of the building does not take any action to correct the problem. A customer slips and injures themselves on a puddle resulting from that leak.
For more information about how to prove negligence in a personal injury claim and what the standard of “reasonable” care entails, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.