Reasonable Person Standard

The reasonable person standard is a test used to define the legal duty to protect one’s own interest and that of others. The standard requires one to act with the same degree of care, knowledge, experience, fair-mindedness, and awareness of the law that the community would expect of a hypothetical reasonable person. The standard is objective in that it compares one’s behavior with that expected of a “reasonable person,” without regard to one’s intention or state of mind. The reasonable person standard plays a key role in negligence law, where behavior falling below the standard triggers liability. The reasonable person standard also appears in contract law, criminal law, civil rights law, and elsewhere.

The reasonable person standard has roots in the development of the concept of ...

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