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Negligence in Texas personal injury lawsuits: Who is the reasonable person?

September 22, 2009

The reasonable person is a legal fiction. It is a hypothetical person who uses average care, judgment and skills in conducting themselves. We use the reasonable person standard to determine whether a person’s conduct was negligent in a given set of circumstances. Typically a person is negligent if they fail to behave the way a reasonable person would under those same circumstances.

In general, negligence relates to a defendant’s actions rather than their state of mind. Therefore, we need a way to decide if those actions were reasonable. The reasonable person standard provides courts and juries with an objective test that can be used to decide whether a person’s actions constitute negligence.

The reasonable person isn’t perfect. A reasonable person is allowed to make mistakes in perception and errors of judgment – but only if that mistake or error was reasonable under the circumstances. If the mistake was consistent with exercising ordinary care, then making that mistake does not constitute negligence.

The reasonable person standard frequently comes into play in Texas personal injury lawsuits because most personal injury lawsuits are based on negligence. If you have been injured due to someone’s negligence, contact Fears | Nachawati to speak with a Texas personal injury lawyer. Just email us at or call our toll-free number at 1.866.705.7584.



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