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What does failure to exercise reasonable care mean?

Those in Pennsylvania who have been injured or lost a loved on in an accident are likely to have numerous questions. These questions tend to touch on topics such as determining if negligence contributed to the wreck and what — if any — compensation is available. When thinking about negligence, one particular phrase is often heard but not always clear as to its meaning. That phrase is: failure to exercise reasonable care. What exactly does that mean and how can this be shown in order for accident victims to achieve compensation?

A standard of care is expected in a number of situations, from medical providers to patients, employers to employees and even drivers’ responsibilities to others with whom they share the road — among many others. When it comes to drivers, those who take on the task of getting behind the wheel are expected to obey traffic laws and pay attention to their surroundings. This would be considered exercising reasonable care.

Nevertheless, accidents will and do happen. When they do, particularly those that result in injury and/or death, this standard of care is put under the microscope. Was the driver deemed responsible for the accident on his or her cell phone or speeding or were other traffic violations involved? Was alcohol or any other impairing substance a contributing factor? These and a variety of potential issues will be looked at when determining if any drivers involved in an accident failed to exercise what is considered reasonable care.

Pennsylvania residents who have been negatively affected by an automobile accident, as a driver, passenger, pedestrian or — in the event of fatality — a surviving family member, have the right to question if the failure to exercise reasonable care caused or contributed to the incident. Reviewing information complied in police reports and from witness accounts can assist in showing if any standard of care was violated. If that can be shown successfully in civil court, monetary relief for any damages sustained by victims and/or their families may be awarded.