Personal Injury and Negligence: What is “Reasonable”?

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Aaron House

Personal Injury and Negligence: What is “Reasonable”?

Hurt in an accident in Kansas City? You have the right to bring a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. In both Missouri and Kansas, liability in personal injury cases is generally based on the concept of “negligence.” Broadly explained, negligence is the failure to take proper care. What constitutes proper care? It is generally based on what a “reasonable” person would have done under similar circumstances. Here, our Kansas City personal injury attorney provides a more comprehensive overview of how negligence is defined.

Why it Matters: You Need to Prove Negligence to Establish Liability

In most personal injury cases—from car accidents and commercial truck accidents to premises liability claims and medical malpractice claims—negligence is the key to liability. The number of different elements involved in a negligence claim, including:

  • Duty; 
  • Breach; 
  • Causation; and
  • Damages.

At the core, establishing liability in a personal injury claim in Kansas City requires showing that the defendant’s failure to act with reasonable care caused you harm. As injured victims need evidence to bring a successful claim, a comprehensive investigation is a must.

Defining Reasonable Care in Personal Injury Law

Knowing the importance of proving negligence (failure to act with reasonable care), you may be wondering what the term “reasonable” actually means in practice. After all, it is relatively vague out of context. As defined by the Legal Information Institute, the term reasonable is defined as “just, rational, appropriate, ordinary, or usual in the circumstances.” In personal injury law, “reasonable care” refers to the level of caution and concern an average person would exercise in a similar situation to prevent harm. By definition, it is a subjective standard that will vary based on the case at hand.

What is “Reasonable” is Highly Case-Specific

What constitutes “reasonable” behavior is highly case-specific in legal contexts, depending heavily on the unique circumstances and standards applicable to each situation. For example, imagine you are bringing a personal injury claim against a grocery store for a slip and fall. Proving liability will require proving that the store in question acted in an unreasonable and unsafe manner in light of what similarly situated businesses would have done under similar circumstances.

Expert Testimony Can Play a Key Role in Establishing Reasonableness

In some cases, expert testimony plays a crucial role in determining what constitutes reasonable behavior. The testimony provides specialized insight that helps clarify standards of care and whether or not they were met. Notably, there are specific rules and regulations regarding the use of expert testimony in personal injury claims. If you have any questions about your options, an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney can help.

Schedule Your Free Consultation With a Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer Today

At House Law LLC, our Kansas City personal injury lawyer invests the time and resources to help victims get true justice. Have questions about proving negligence? Our legal team can help. Call us now or contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation case review. From our Kansas City office, we advocate for the rights and interests of injured victims in Missouri and Kansas.

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