Reasonable / Prudent Man Law & Legal Definition

Reasonable or Prudent man is a hypothetical person used as a legal standard especially to determine whether someone acted with negligence. This hypothetical person exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct that society requires of its members for the protection of their own and of others' interests. The conduct of the reasonable man serves as a comparative standard for determining liability. For example, the decision whether an accused is guilty of a given offense might involve the application of an objective test in which the conduct of the accused is compared to that of a reasonable person under similar circumstances.

Reasonable man is a term commonly used in tort and criminal law. The Laws of England place great weight on the Reasonable Man. This may be due to the fact that it is not possible to specify exactly what ought to be done in all circumstances, and therefore it is phrased in terms of what a reasonable man would in the circumstances do. This standard is used to judge the conduct of an ordinary person only. Usually persons with greater than average skills, or with special duties to society, are held to a higher standard of care. For example, a physician who aids a person in distress is held to a higher standard of care than is an ordinary person.