Plaintiff injured in motor vehicle accident. The jury was asked (charged) to put themselves in the place of the driver in deciding whether standard of care was breached.
At trial: Jury held that defendant did not breach standard of care. Plaintiff appealed, based on judge’s charge to the jury.
Can the judge charge the jury to use a subjective test? Is the standard of care by which a jury is to judge the conduct of parties in a case of the kind under consideration the care that would have been taken in the circumstances by a reasonable person?
The standard of care use to judge conduct is based on what the conduct of a reasonable person would be.
Reasonable person test:
** An impersonal test, independent of idiosyncrasies of the particular person whose conduct is in question.
** The conduct of a reasonable person is the standard adopted in the community of persons of ordinary intelligence and prudence.
** Open to a diversity of views.
** Not about the highest degree of care of which humankind is capable
** Immutable legal standard in the face of changing factual standards
However, trial judges charge was only misdirection and not a substantial wrong.