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3.9-19  Reasonable Care

Revised to January 1, 2008

In describing the duties involved in this case, I have used the term "reasonable care."

Reasonable care is defined as the care which an ordinarily prudent or careful person would use in view of the surrounding circumstances.  You must determine the question by placing an ordinarily prudent person in the situation of the defendant and ask yourselves:  what would such a person have done?

Note that it is the care that such a person would have used under the surrounding circumstances, that is, in view of the facts known or the facts of which the party should have been aware at the time.  The standard of care required, that of an ordinarily prudent person under the circumstances, never varies, but the degree or amount of care may vary with those circumstances.

For example, in circumstances of slight risk or danger, a slight amount of care might be sufficient to constitute reasonable care, while in circumstances of greater risk or danger, a correspondingly greater amount of care would be required to constitute reasonable care.


Alternate language describing "reasonable care" is used in the section on general negligence in Reasonable Care, Instruction 3.6-4.  Neither charge is preferred and either may be used.


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