Standard of Care
Not every injury or unfortunate incident is the result of negligence. Sometimes, accidents happen. What differentiates a true accident from an event that involved negligence is a concept known as standard of care. Standard of care refers to the amount of attention and care that a reasonable person would exhibit in a given situation that resulted in injury or death.
The “Reasonable Person”
The concept of the reasonable person is used in the law referencing an ideal and does not take into account any limitations—either physical or mental— that the defendant may have. In a personal injury case, it is often the jury who is tasked with deciding whether or not the defendant’s actions were consistent with that of a reasonable person.
Varying Standards of Care
It is important to know that the parameters standard of care can vary from case to case. There are several distinctions that can be made among professional and non-professional standards of care and even cases involving children. Professional standards of care are those that are established among colleagues in the same profession. Non-professional standards of care are established by the community at large and include services (such as trash collection) and statutes (like traffic laws) that are intended to keep citizens safe. Note that the concept of standard of care may even differ among individuals who have a pre-existing standard or agreement. In addition, the court will often modify the definition of standard of care in a case that involves a defendant who is a minor.
Standard of care is an integral part of any personal injury case. For more information about how standard of care may be applied in your specific case, it is best to consult an experienced local personal injury attorney.