In Negligence Cases, What is a ‘Reasonable Person’?

The word ‘reasonable’ is thrown around often in car accident cases where a person has suffered injuries. North Carolina residents will often ask whether or not a person was acting reasonably at the time of an accident. But what is reasonable? After a person has suffered injuries due to a Charlotte car accident, he or she will want to know whether unreasonable, that is to say negligent, behavior caused the car accident that hurt him or her.

A reasonable person is determined by the certain situation that the person found themselves in at the time of the accident. For example, let’s say a person is driving the speed limit in a 55 mph zone during a heavy thunderstorm. The driver then causes an accident when he or she hydroplanes. The driver may be at fault even if it doesn’t immediately appear that the driver has broken any laws. In a personal injury court case, the driver could be responsible since he or she failed the “reasonable person test.”

This hypothetical driver failed the reasonable person test because a reasonable driver would have slowed down in order to better deal with the weather condition on the road that day. When unreasonable behavior, like driving too fast for conditions, directly leads to serious injuries, the injured person has rights that he or she can explore.

It takes a showing of unreasonable behavior on the part of a driver before that driver can be found negligent for an accident that caused injuries. The reasonable person test is a great way to prove that the driver responsible for the accident should be held accountable for his or her actions. Medical costs associated with car accident injuries can be quite steep and should not be the burden of the innocent victim.