What does the law say about being a “reasonable person”?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2018 | Firm News

You may not have seen the other vehicle coming. When it crashed into yours, you may have immediately felt pain or it could have taken a few days before you realized the extent of your injuries. What you do know is that you will be out of work for a significant amount of time, and the medical bills are mounting.

In addition to dealing with your recovery, you may be dealing with the added stress that comes with the financial losses you are experiencing. You believe that the other driver caused the crash, and his or her insurance company is giving you the run-around. If you decide to take the next step and file a lawsuit, you may wonder how you will show the court that the other person’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries.

What is the “reasonable person” standard?

The fact is that accidents do happen. A driver can do everything right and still end up in an accident. However, if a person failed to take the appropriate action or neglected to act appropriately, it may give rise to negligence. When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, the courts will look at whether the alleged at-fault driver failed to do what a “reasonable person” would do. Obeying traffic laws, avoiding distractions, not driving drowsy and not driving drunk are examples of a reasonable person.

This may be obvious, but how does it apply to your claim? How do you show that the other driver wasn’t being reasonable at the time of the accident? A South Dakota court will look at the circumstances surrounding the accident in order to make that determination. In some cases, negligence is obvious, such as in the case of a drunk driver, but in others, it may take more to prove.

The evidence can come from anywhere

When saying that the court looks at the circumstances surrounding the accident, that often means more than just those few seconds in which the crash occurred. It may require going back at least a day, and perhaps more, in order to determine what factors led up to the crash. The investigation will include obtaining the information gathered from police at the scene, perhaps talking to the other driver and delving into the details of that person’s life.

It can be easy to miss something when gathering the evidence necessary to show that the other driver wasn’t acting as a reasonable person if you aren’t familiar with how to do so. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this process alone. You can turn to the legal resources in your area to provide you with the help you need in your pursuit of the compensation you deserve.


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