Standard of Care Law and Legal Definition

Standard of care refers to the the degree of attentiveness, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would exercise. Failure to meet the standard is negligence, and the person who fails to meet the standard is liable for any damages caused by such negligence. The standard is not subject to a precise definition and depends is judged on a case by case basis.

Certain standards for professionals are established by practice of similar professionals in their community. Other nonprofessional standards, such as for drivers, may be established by applicable laws and regulations, such as the rules of the road. Also, the standard of care may vary based upon the relationship between the parties. For example, a higher standard of care is applied in situations involving a compensated service than a gratuitous favor.