Pattern Jury Instructions - KOTA Territory News

Pattern Jury Instructions

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Gary Jensen
Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald

If you think somebody negligently harmed you – or somebody claims you negligently harmed them – what legal standard would the judge instruct the jury to use?       

Most likely, the legal standard would be articulated as follows:

Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care.  It is the doing of something which a reasonable person would not do, or the failure to do something which a reasonable person would do, under facts similar to those shown by the evidence.  The law does not say how a reasonable person would act under facts similar to those shown in the evidence.  That is for you to decide.

This jury instruction is one of many "pattern jury instructions" that have been carefully drafted by a committee of the South Dakota Bar Association based upon its thoughtful study of the law as it has been articulated by the Legislature and our Supreme Court. 

Though not perfect and sometimes subject to debate, our "pattern jury instructions" are highly thought of by judges and lawyers so are often used in trials, sometimes supplemented by other instructions or revised where required by the circumstances of the case.

You can learn a lot of law by reading the pattern jury instructions. 


E-mail Gary

 

Lawline@KOTATV.com is intended as general information on legal issues affecting us all.  This information should not be relied upon in any particular case and should never be used in lieu of consulting with an attorney.

When:     

1.      You see yet another car accident at a spot where there have been many accidents in the past and will be more accidents in the future? 

 

2.      You learn another person is hurt using a machine that has injured others in the past and will injure others in the future? 

 

3.      You watch a dangerous practice – like where a school bus parks – you know is a disaster waiting to happen?  

 

What should you do? 

 

Try to prevent the next accident, injury, and catastrophe from happening. 

 

How can you do that? 

 

Send a letter or email to those responsible – the highway department, the owner and operator of the machine, the school district - putting them on notice of the danger.

 

Your letter or email will either prompt a "fix" or help the next innocent victim establish liability against those who failed to act.   

 

Taking a few minutes to write a letter or email can have a huge impact; you can be a difference maker. 

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