Professionals put a lot of time and dedication into getting a license, learning the trade or necessary skills, and building up a good reputation. In any profession or field of work, clients and patients put their trust in professionals to get the work done and do it correctly and safely. There is a standard of care that must be met, which is a certain level of attentiveness and caution that a reasonable person in the same profession and position would exercise. You can learn more about failing to meet this standard and what happens on this page.
Failing to Meet the Standard of Care
When a professional fails to meet the standard of care that is required, this is negligent conduct and the person that fails to meet this standard could be liable for any harm that is done as a result. This standard does not have a precise decision only because it varies specifically on each profession and each action. A reasonable person may look different depending on the profession and the type of service given to the paying client or patient. In some professions, the standard of care has been established by the known practices and conduct of the profession in that state or community. In other professions, the standard of care may be established by regulations or laws. An example of this would be commercial drivers because commercial drivers must meet the standard of care laid out by Connecticut statutes.
Medical Standard of Care
Standard of care is very important in the healthcare industry because failing to meet the standard of care required of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals could cause serious injury and death. Patients who are harmed by alleged medical malpractice may file a complaint to the court, stating that they have grounds to believe that they have been harmed by a healthcare professional that treated them. Complaints can also be filed with the Medical Examining Board and the Board has the authority to take disciplinary action or take away licenses.
Physicians and other healthcare professionals could risk a lawsuit, disciplinary action, or both for giving substandard care that does not match up with other professionals in the field, and not giving the same level of care for similarly situated individuals. Not giving the same level of care to similarly situated individuals could end up being an issue for professionals that have personal relationships with patients or bias against patients. The standard of care must also be met at every level of treatment including evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, examinations, procedures, and aftercare.
Standard of Care with Children
There is also a special standard of care that is applied to professionals that work with children. These professionals are expected to act in a reasonable way that others working in the same situation and with the same age or intelligence level would act. Professionals must evaluate the situation and determine whether children should be protected from inherently dangerous activities, which can be difficult because there is a different standard regarding what is dangerous for adults or children of different ages. Failure to meet this standard of care could result in termination, other disciplinary action, loss of license, and a lawsuit.
Construction Standard of Care
In the construction industry, there is an expected duty of care that must be taken to avoid actions that could cause safety and health issues. Construction workers are expected to avoid bad safety practices, faulty construction, and avoid using poorly maintained equipment. Construction workers are expected to handle themselves as a reasonable person doing the same project and working with the same materials would act. Professionals that are bound to this duty of care include contractors, surveyors, engineers, project managers, building contractors, and architects.
Construction professionals should be careful to understand the safety measures that are expected before starting a project. This could include evaluating potential risks to health, safety, and the environment and the danger of the materials and machinery that is going to be used. Duty of care also applies to visitors to the construction site because they are also protected under the duty of care, and could sue for being injured due to negligence at the site.
Breaches of duty of care and standard of care is difficult because it is often determined on a case-by-case basis since all professions deal with different situations. If you are a licensed professional and fear that you will face legal consequences for failing to meet your standard of care, call our office to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you.