The reasonable person standard is important for every Vancouver personal injury lawyer. It is a key element of personal injury cases based on the negligence of a person or business. This standard applies to all types of accident and injury claims from slip and falls to auto accidents.
The Reasonable Person
The concept of a reasonable or ideal person makes it easier for courts and juries to decide whether the defendant was negligent. This is done by determining if the defendant failed to act as a reasonable person would in the same situation. The reasonable person standard applies to all situations where a preventable accident occurs. It starts with the standard of care. If you enter a store or are driving on the highway, you expect people to exercise a certain degree of care. A reasonable person would agree that you should be able to shop in the grocery store without experiencing harm. To maintain a safe environment, the store should maintain a standard of care. If a bottle of lotion spills in the fourth aisle, a reasonable person would make an effort to mark the area with cones and clean up the spill as quickly as possible. Any deviation from what a reasonably prudent person would do is negligence.
The term proximate cause relates to the scope of liability. The law says that the defendant is only negligent if the accident was preventable. If a reasonable person could not have predicted the incident and taken measures to prevent it, the defendant is not responsible for your injuries. This might apply to acts of nature. If you were struck by lightning on your neighbor’s property, he or she couldn’t have predicted or prevented the accident, so your neighbor is not responsible.
Invited Guests and Trespassers
Washington is one of the few states that use common law classifications of invitees, licensees and trespasser. This means that if you slipped and fell while trespassing, the standard of care is not owed to you. However, if you were injured by a trap set for trespassers, a Vancouver personal injury lawyer can sue the defendant for intentional infliction of injuries.
Determining Who’s Responsible
In most cases, everyone can agree if a person acted reasonably. There are obvious breaches in the standard of care if a person drives recklessly or operates a vehicle while intoxicated or texting. These are things that a reasonable person would never do. Businesses can also be held liable in these situations.
- When there was a known hazard
- When the business should have known about the hazard
- When an employee created the hazard
To win a claim, your injury lawyer Vancouver must establish these things to meet the burden of proof.
- The condition posed an unreasonable and foreseeable risk.
- The defendant created the hazard, knew about it or should have known.
- The defendant did not exercise reasonable care in correcting the hazard.
Injuries and Children
If you were injured by a child, you should know that minors are held to a different standard of care. Children are compared to other minors of the same age, intelligence and experience when determining if they were reasonably prudent. There are exceptions when injuries involve snowmobiles, cars, ATVs and adult activities.
Contact an Injury Lawyer Vancouver Attorney
Loren Scott Etengoff has been helping injury victims in Washington state for more than 30 years. To request your free consultation with an experienced Vancouver personal injury lawyer, call the Etengoff Pak Law Group at 360-693-2919.