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Was the one who caused your injuries a “reasonable person?”

Property owners in Ontario carry the responsibility of providing safe surroundings for any visitors who legally enter their premises. When dangerous situations cause injuries, the victim may pursue financial relief by filing a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner. The court will then consider whether the property owner caused harm to the plaintiff and whether it was due to carelessness or was unintentional. To make such a determination, the reasonable person standard will be applied.

According to this standard, a reasonable person is one that exercises a standard of care similar to that which another prudent and reasonable person would apply. The standard is based on what judges believe ordinary people should do, and what most people would do. It excludes individual characteristics such as temperament, intelligence, maturity and strength, and a reasonable person need not be perfect. The victim, or plaintiff, will also be held up to the same standard of reasonableness.

Each case is unique, and judges will make a number of assessments pertaining to the circumstances of each case. This will invariably include the possibility of the condition that caused the harm being a foreseeable or known hazard. Also, the severity of the injury or harm along with the cost the defendant would have incurred had he or she taken preventative steps to avoid injuries would be assessed. Depending on the type of property on which the injury occurred, the judge may also consider reasonable conduct based on external indicators such as the specific industry or custom and regulatory or statutory standards.

Anyone in Ontario who has to cope with the consequences of injuries suffered on the property of another person might have questions about the viability of a claim to pursue recovery of financial and emotional damages. This is where the services of experienced premises liability lawyers come in. A lawyer can assess the circumstances, and if there are grounds for a civil lawsuit, he or she can provide the necessary support and guidance with every step along the way during ensuing legal proceedings.

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