What is the Reasonable Person Standard for Personal Injury Cases?

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I’m injured. Can I get compensated for that? Is someone else legally liable for my injuries?

You’re hurt. Is it possible to get compensation? You may be wondering if you can bring a legal claim for compensation following a personal injury accident.

Personal injury liability in Nevada is based on negligence. A person or party is liable for an injury to someone else if they cause the injury through negligent conduct.

The next question is – When is a party negligent? The answer to that question is found in the reasonable person standard.

What is the Reasonable Person Standard in Personal Injury Cases?

The reasonable person standard in personal injury cases is the legal standard that determines whether someone acted negligently. If someone fails to act up to the reasonable person standard, they may have legal and financial responsibility if someone is hurt as a result of their negligence.

What is the Reasonable Person Standard in Nevada?

In Nevada, the reasonable person standard is exercising that degree of care which an ordinary careful, and prudent person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. (Nevada Jury Instructions 4.3)

How the Reasonable Person Standard Works

The reasonable person standard looks at the sum total of the defendant’s actions leading up to the injury. It’s presumed that a reasonable person would be somewhat cautious to prevent injury to others. Then, it looks at what a reasonable person would do in the same situation.

If the defendant’s actions leading up to the injury were not at least the minimum standard of a reasonable person, the defendant can be held legally liable for the victim’s injuries and damages.

Does Nevada Use the Reasonable Person Standard?

The reasonable person standard applies in most personal injury claims in Nevada. In cases where the reasonable person standard applies, the victim must prove that the defendant did not live up to the standard for that situation that caused the injury.

Where Does the Reasonable Person Standard in Nevada Come From?

Nevada Rev. Stat. § 41.130 states that when a person suffers a personal injury because of neglect or other wrongful act, the person causing the injury is liable for damages. Nevada courts have defined neglect as the “failure to exercise that degree of care which an ordinary careful and prudent person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.” (Nevada Jury Instructions 4.3; See Driscoll v. Erreguible, 87 Nev. 97 (1971), explaining the ordinary prudent man in evaluating injury liability).

The reasonable person standard is not a skilled or extraordinarily cautious person. The person must have an ordinary measure of caution. In hindsight, extraordinary care may have been preferred. It may have prevented the accident. However, the law requires the person to act only as reasonably as an ordinary person.

Why is the Reasonable Person Standard So Important?

The reasonable person standard is important because it creates the standard to evaluate whether someone is liable for a personal injury. It is the benchmark used to decide if the defendant has legal liability and an obligation to pay damages. Once legal liability is established, the defendant must pay the damages allowed under the law.

Nevada law § 41.141 states that a person or party who causes at least 51% of another’s injury is responsible for paying damages. The state’s comparative negligence system lowers the compensation a claimant receives according to the plaintiff’s percentage of fault for the injury. However, the law cannot possibly anticipate the details of every single situation where an injury occurs. The facts are a little bit different in each case. Using the reasonable person standard allows the courts to evaluate each case on its own merits.

Examples of a Reasonable Person Standard

Here are some examples of where a person or party may have failed to meet the reasonable person standard:

  • Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign or obey a traffic light
  • Allowing a spill to remain on the floor of a store or other business for too long
  • Poor lighting in a parking lot, combined with uneven pavement
  • Objects hanging with inadequate support so that they can fall
  • Failing to hire and train qualified employees sufficiently
  • Asking employees, especially drivers, to work too long without a break
  • Errors in judgment in providing medical care or other professional services

Reasonable behavior varies from one situation to another. A party may be negligent in one situation, but someone else may not be in a similar situation.

How Do You Prove the Reasonable Person Standard?

Some ways that you may prove the reasonable person standard to the jury are:

  • Proof that the person violated a law or regulation relating to the case
  • An expert witness that speaks to what is reasonable under the circumstances, comparing it to the defendant’s conduct
  • Evidence of the industry-standard or standard practice
  • Internal records showing the defendant’s usual practices, if the defendant is a company or group
  • Demonstrations of the potential and likely harm from the defendant’s course of conduct

Just like the reasonable person standard is unique to each case, how you prove the reasonable standard is also different in each case. When you work with our experienced lawyers, we evaluate the reasonable person standard and prepare to explain the standard to the jury in an understandable way.

Lawyers for Proving the Reasonable Person Standard

Proving the reasonable standard is an essential part of any personal injury case. You cannot win your case without it. The Nevada Accident Injury Lawyers know how important it is to establish and prove the reasonable person standard in each injury case.

Our lawyers are prepared to pursue every avenue for you to receive justice. Contact us for your free case consultation. We can discuss the reasonable person standard and how it may apply to your case.

Call or send us a message today for your consultation.


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