A large number of personal injury claims are based, at least in part, on a theory of negligence. Negligent conduct is conduct that falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. A person has acted negligently if he or she has departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances.
To use an old logical saw, that ultimately begs the question of who a reasonably prudent person is. To some, the definition of that person comes as a surprise. The reasonably prudent person can sometimes be generalized as “Debbie Do-Gooder”. The reasonably prudent person stops completely at lights and stop signs. They signal a full 100 feet before making a turn. They always look both ways before turning and never speed. This can be an intimidating prospect for some, as most people don’t operate that conservatively in their everyday lives.
This definition doesn’t stop with people driving cars either. A reasonable business owner salts the entrance to his business after every freeze. They shovel all snow from their pathways and warn patrons of any dangers that could potentially affect them. They post warning signs, double and triple-check food they make, and make sure they don’t hire anyone that could harm another.