July 26, 2022 | Personal Injury
Before you can collect compensation for a negligence claim, you must be able to show what a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances and how the defendant’s actions varied from this standard. This is necessary to help establish negligence in Oklahoma.
If you were hurt in a slip and fall, car accident, motorcycle accident, or any other accident involving another party’s negligence, a skilled Oklahoma personal injury lawyer can help you gather evidence and prove your case.
What Is the “Reasonable Person” Standard?
The first element you must prove in a negligence claim is that the defendant owed a duty of care to you. In some cases, this duty is based on law or the relationship between the parties. For example, a healthcare provider has a duty to provide care consistent with the applicable medical standard of care, which is the same level of care that another doctor in the same specialty would provide under similar circumstances.
In other cases, the duty is based on what a “reasonable person” would do under the circumstances. The reasonable person standard is the level of care someone of ordinary prudence would’ve exercised under similar circumstances. Oklahoma has adopted this definition and finds that a person is negligent when they act with more carelessness than a reasonable person would under the circumstances.
Negligence can consist of an act or an omission to act when there is a duty to act. For example, Oklahoma Statute §47-10-104 requires drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident to stop, give information to the other driver, and render aid. If one of the drivers fails to do these three things, their omission can be interpreted as negligence.
How Does the Reasonable Person Standard Affect Negligence Claims?
To prove that another person was negligent, you have to show four legal elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care to act as a reasonable person
- The defendant failed to act as a reasonable person, breaching their duty of care
- The defendant’s failure to act as a reasonable person caused your injuries
- You suffered compensable losses
You can use the reasonable person standard by showing that the defendant did not act as a reasonable person would have under the same or similar circumstances.
You may be able to show:
- The risk of harm was foreseeable
- The defendant was aware their actions could result in injury
- A reasonable person would have taken other actions to avoid the injury
An experienced Oklahoma personal injury lawyer can help gather evidence to prove this information and argue for you to receive compensation for the harm you suffered.
Does the Reasonable Person Standard Apply to Children?
The reasonable person standard does not generally apply to children.
Instead, courts weigh the conduct of children based on how other children would act who:
- Are the same age
- Have the same experience
- Have the same knowledge
However, if a child is taking on the actions of an adult, such as driving, they may be held to the same standard as an adult.
Personal injury lawyers are aware of the various standards that apply in negligence claims. They can discuss what you must prove and how you can prove it. They can also provide legal representation throughout your claim so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Contact the Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers at McGuire Law Firm Today for Free Consultation
We serve throughout Oklahoma and its surrounding areas: