Personal Injury Law


The Restatement of Torts (2d) § 283, comment b provides in part:

Negligence is a departure from a standard of conduct demanded by the community for the protection of others against unreasonable risk…. In dealing with this problem the law has made use of the standard of a hypothetical “reasonable man.” Sometimes this person is called a reasonable man of ordinary prudence, or an ordinarily prudent man, or a man of average prudence, or a man of reasonable sense exercising ordinary care. It is evident that all such phrases are intended to mean very much the same thing. The actor is required to do what this ideal individual would do in his place.

The reasonable person standard is an objective standard that provides a comparison between the defendant and the ideal person who is acting reasonably. Factors important in determining reasonableness sometimes include the defendant’s profession, custom, age, whether the defendant violated a statute or law, and physical characteristics of the defendant. For example, a blind person is not held to the same standard of care as people who have their eyesight.


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