Assuming Other’s Good Conduct - KOTA Territory News

Assuming Other’s Good Conduct


Gary Jensen
Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald

As long as we're living our lives reasonably and in a lawful manner, we have a right to assume that others will "perform their duty and obey the law," unless there is reasonable cause to think otherwise; we have a right to assume that we are not exposed to danger from another person's violation of the law or duty of care.

So, unless there's something to tip us off as we walk down the street, sit in a public place, or drive down the road, we are entitled to assume that others will behave appropriately.

But, if we are, or should be, put on notice that somebody is not going to act appropriately (you see something "odd" up ahead on the road) or if there's an obvious danger presented by somebody else's conduct (making an illegal turn), we cannot ignore what's there to be seen and proceed as if it's not happening. If you do, you may be "contributorily negligent" and find yourself barred from recovery for personal injuries and damages.

In other words, the law says we need to pay attention to what's going on around us.

E-mail Gary 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.


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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