The law imposes on us a duty to act prudently under a given set of circumstances. This is what lawyers recognize as the ‘reasonable person standard’. The law charges all drivers, for example, with the obligation to do what a reasonable person would do in a given set of conditions, and to refrain from doing what a reasonable person would not. We have an obligation not to put others at risk, or, creating what a Judge in New York long ago called the "zone of danger."
When unreasonable conduct creates a zone of danger, and an innocent person in that zone sustains bodily injury, you have actionable negligence and a potential personal injury lawsuit.
What a reasonable person would foresee as potential harm resulting from the questioned conduct, as opposed to the exact specific harm causing injury, defines and sets the zone of danger. In other words, in hindsight, if a reasonable person surmises, that yes, it is possible that a person could be injured by that course of conduct, or by refraining from that course of conduct, you have a question of negligence. The more possible, or foreseeable that harm, the more likely a finding of negligence. Lawyers in a typical Baltimore personal injury claim involving a motor vehicle accident will generally rely on rules of the road to argue fault, rather than more general, and perhaps more esoteric, negligence principles.But the concept of foreseeability is always a factor in determining if someone’s conduct, or misconduct, caused the harm in question.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 6/17/20.