Defining “Reasonable Care” and “Negligence”

Personal injury and tort cases bring with them explicit legal terminology, including the terms “reasonable care” and “negligence.” But, what do these terms actually mean? Here, attorney Douglas Lauenstein breaks down these common phrases, and explains their implications in a personal injury or tort case.

How is Reasonable Care Defined?

Reasonable care is “the degree of caution and concern for the safety of the self and others an ordinarily prudent and rational person would use in the same circumstances.” It acts as a minimum standard that must be met, and failure to provide reasonable care in a situation can leave a defendant in a position to be accused of negligence.

What is an Example of Reasonable Care?

There is a duty of “reasonable care” for drivers of vehicles on public highways. A driver may fail to abide by the State of Maryland statutory rules of the road, while driving and cause an accident.  In this case the driver would have failed to provide “reasonable care” and may be held responsible for damages under the tort theory of negligence.

How is Negligence Defined?

Negligence is a failure to act reasonably and carefully, resulting in injury or harm to another person. There are several aspects that must be met to prove negligence. They include: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Duty means that the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances, and breach is the failure to act upon that duty. If the defendant’s actions caused the injury or harm to the plaintiff, that is considered causation, and damages encompass any injuries or harm to the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s action or inaction.

What is an Example of Negligence?

As an example, let’s assume that a surgeon is performing an operation on a patient. Before beginning the procedure, the surgeon fails to properly sanitize their hands. Because of this lack of sanitation, the patient suffers from sepsis, leading to additional treatment, serious injury, extensive medical bills and time away from work. In this example, the surgeon has a legal duty as the patient is under their care. By not following reasonable care, the surgeon has breached that duty, and their failure to meet sanitation standards caused the patient’s sepsis. As a result, the sepsis caused pain, suffering, hefty medical bills and lost work wages. If each of these elements is explicitly proven through medical documentation and additional evidence, negligence can be proven, and the surgeon would likely be sued for compensation.

How Douglas Lauenstein Can Help with Your Personal Injury or Tort Case

Dedicated personal injury attorney, Douglas Lauenstein works diligently for those who suffered at the hands of negligence. Don’t walk the painful path of personal injury alone—you deserve justice for your injuries. Contact The Lauenstein Law Firm today for a legal consultation.