Negligence has been defined as careless and neglectful behavior. The legal system compares the defendant’s actions to those of an imagined, reasonable person. How does negligence relate to reasonable actions?
More information on the legal view of negligence
• A negligent defendant demonstrates an absence of the level of care that is shown by a reasonable person.
• Someone that is prudent and careful performs reasonable actions.
• Someone that is reasonable demonstrates a readiness to show diligence and forethought.
How the legal system measures the defendant’s level of reasonableness?
The defendant does not have to be perfect. In other words, the defendant does not have to exercise every conceivable level of caution at all times. For instance, a reasonable driver that comes to an unmarked intersection would slow down and watch for the possible approach of another vehicle, on one of the other roads that lead into the same intersection.
The law does not expect a reasonable driver to conceive of all possibilities, and to come to a complete stop. The simple act of slowing represents an acceptable level of caution.
If a reasonable driver were to come to an unmarked intersection and see a pedestrian standing on one corner, then he or she should try to make eye contact with the same pedestrian. At the same time, it is the driver’s job to stop and then signal when the pedestrian can cross the street, as per Injury Lawyer in Mississauga.
A reasonable dog owner would want to increase the level of control on his or her pet whenever one or more guests were expected. For example, that pet canine ought to be placed in a pen or some other form of confinement, on Halloween night, when trick-or-treaters were expected.
Similarly, it would make sense to place an added amount of control on a pet dog, if it was time for the mail carrier’s arrival. That same heavy level of control would not be necessary at every hour of the day. In fact, it would be foolish to exercise that level of control at night, when the owner was sleeping. The above examples help to highlight the nature of behavior that demonstrates a possession of reasonableness. Such actions show a readiness to entertain forethought. Still, forethought does not mean the tendency to conceive of every possibility.
In the event of an emergency, someone might come to the home of a pet owner during the night. Still, it is not the dog owner’s responsibility to plan for the less-than-likely arrival of such a person. Instead, he or she needs to count on the dog’s ability to warn about the possible approach of a stranger. The owner could not be charged for harm to such a stranger.