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A property owner must act like a "reasonable person"

When a person in Georgia is injured on a private or commercial property, the property owner could be accused of negligence in a premises liability claim. To prove that the owner of the property was negligent, the plaintiff must establish that the property owner did not behave as a 'reasonable person" would have acted in similar circumstances.

Reasonable person is a term that is used in premises liability claims and other personal injury lawsuits that involve allegations of negligence. There is no absolute definition for reasonable person, and determining whether a property owner acted reasonably in a given situation is objective. However, the basic definition of a reasonable person is a typical person with ordinary discretion.

When a judge or jury decides whether a property owner acted reasonably to protect their guests from injuries, the property owner will be judged based on what they knew or should have known about the conditions of the property. The property owner's intelligence and propensity for carelessness are not taken into account in this assessment, so a person of lower intelligence is held to the same reasonable person standard as a person with higher intelligence. A judge or jury may also consider the common knowledge that is well known to most people in a community.

An example of a negligent property owner is a property owner who knowingly leaves a pile of sharp objects near an area where young children regularly play. Though the children may have to trespass onto the property to get the dangerous objects, a reasonable person would understand that they have created an attractive hazard. A lawyer may be able to help a plaintiff in a premises liability claim to prove that a property owner caused an accident by negligent care of a property.

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