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Negligence and the Reasonable Person


Table of Contents

About a month ago this blog lay out brief summary of how, in general, a civil lawsuit on behalf of a person injured due to a truck accident in Texas may be presented. Because the large majority of motor vehicle injury cases rely on the concept of liability due to negligence, we discussed the basic elements that a case based on this concept requires to be proved in order to succeed. This post will look a little more in depth into the first and most basic concept in a personal injury case, that of ‘duty’ and ‘breach’, more commonly known as Negligence and the Reasonable Person.

Negligence and the Reasonable Person: What is Negligence?

First, it is important to understand that a person might breach a legal duty either because the person took an action, or because the person failed to act. That is, negligence does not require that an affirmative activity was engaged in, necessarily.

The reason for this is that the concept of duty encompasses both things people should do and things they should not do.

So, for example, if we say that a motorist has the duty to operate a vehicle reasonably, one part of that duty may be to signal before making a turn. The failure to take an action in this case, if it results in an accident, may be a breach of duty for the purposes of negligence.

Negligence and the Reasonable Person: What is a Reasonable Person?

The second important concept for people to know about duty in the context of negligence is that the standard is what is called an ‘objective’ standard.

This means that the individual’s duty is what a reasonable person would do in a certain situation, not what the specific individual in the case did, in fact, think the person should do.

For example, a person may think that if the person is only going a short way, it will be alright to drive without the person’s visually corrective lenses. However, because one has a duty to operate a motor vehicle reasonably safely, if a reasonable person would not drive without glasses, that individual may have breached the person’s duty.

As we have previously touched on, slightly different standards may be applied when discussing commercial trucks. Because of their size and the danger of serious injury they present, truck drivers will likely to have a duty to act as a reasonable truck driver, rather than a normal motorist.

Further, commercial employers may also have legal duties owed to others on the roads upon which their trucks operate. For more information on the negligence theory in truck accidents, individuals may wish to consider contacting an experienced Texas personal injury attorney who specializes in truck accidents.

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