The conduct of the handicapped individual must be reasonable in the light of his knowledge of his infirmity, which is treated merely as one of the circumstances under which he acts. A blind man must take the precautions which the ordinary reasonable man would take if he were blind.
Plaintiff claimed that he sustained injuries after being bumped into by a blind man who failed to use a cane while walking to the restroom. Since the incident occurred in the lobby of a post office and the blind man operated a concession stand in the building, plaintiff sued defendant state for damages, advancing theories of negligent supervision and respondent superior. The trial court dismissed the suit. On plaintiff’s appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.
Was the blind man negligent for crossing the area from his place of work to the bathroom without using a cane?
Plaintiff failed to show that the blind man was negligent. The blind man worked in the building and knew his way around. Like most of the other blind operators, he did not use a cane on short trips within the building. Accordingly, he was not negligent for his failure to use a cane, as he was acting as a reasonably prudent blind person.