When you’ve suffered injury at the hands of another person, you may have a number of different avenues for pursuing compensation, based both on the type of accident, as well as the state of mind of the person who caused you injury. Some injuries are governed by what is known as “strict liability,” where all you need to do is show that the defendant was engaging in a particular type of activity and you were hurt as a result. However, most personal injury lawsuits are based on a legal theory of negligence.
To succeed in a negligence claim, you must show three things:
- The person who caused the injury did not use a reasonable amount of care
- The failure to use reasonable care caused your injury
- You suffered loss as a result of your injury
The Standard of Care
Under the laws governing negligence, you must first show that the defendant breached (failed to use or employ) a reasonable standard of care. This assumes that, in all situations, persons must exercise a level of care that minimizes the risk of injury to others. The standard is not absolute, though-there’s no duty to totally avoid the potential for injury. Instead, you must only act as a reasonable person would.
That, of course, begs the question-how would a reasonable person act? What would a reasonable person have done under the same circumstances? The law does not specifically identify whether or not certain behaviors are reasonable. Instead, that duty is typically left up to a jury. Some courts have attempted to further narrow the definition of “reasonable” care, holding that it’s that level of care that would be exercised by “an average person of ordinary prudence.” Obviously, because the jury decides whether there’s been a breach of the standard of care, it will vary, based on the facts.
Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates
To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.