A professional is held to the objective minimum standard of care of a reasonably prudent member of that profession under the same or similar circumstances.
Includes knowledge, training, and skill of an ordinary member of that profession
Lawyers who act in good faith and an honest belief that their advice and acts are well-founded and in the best interest of their client are not liable for mere errors of judgment or mistakes in points of law not yet settled by a court of last resort in his state and on which reasonable doubt may be entertained by well-intentioned lawyers.
One licensed to practice medicine is presumed to possess the degree of skill and learning which is possessed by the average member of the medical profession in good standing in the community in which he practices, and to apply that skill and learning, or if he does not apply it, he is guilty of malpractice.
Before a physician or surgeon can be held liable as for malpractice, he must have done something in his treatment of his patient which recognized standard of good medical practice in the community in which hie is practicing forbids in such cases, or he must have neglected to do something which such standard requires
In order to sustain a verdict for the plaintiffs in an action for malpractice, the standard of medical practice in the community must be shown by affirmative evidence, and, unless there is evidence of such a standard, a jury may not be permitted to speculate as to what the required standard is, or whether the defendant has departed therefrom.
Negligence on the part of a physician or surgeon in the treatment of a case is never presumed but must be affirmatively proven, and no presumption of negligence nor want of skill arises from the mere fact that a treatment was unsuccessful, failed to bring the best results, or that the patient died.
The accepted rule is that negligence on the part of a physician or surgeon, by reason of his departure from the proper standard of practice, must be established by expert medical testimony, unless the negligence is so grossly apparent that a layman would have no difficulty in recognizing it.
The testimony of other physicians that they would have followed a different course of treatment than that followed by the defendant is not sufficient to establish malpractice unless it also appears that the course of treatment followed deviated form on the methods of treatment approved by the standard in that community.
Some jurisdictions have "degrees of care." This says that certain people who deal with things known to be dangerous, like people working with explosives, or those who have accepted a special responsibility towards other, such as common carriers, are held to a higher degree of care. This says that they are required to exercise "the highest degree of care" or "the utmost caution characteristic of very careful prudent persons."
Other jurisdictions reject degrees of care though. These would just say that the standard of care is the same, but since this standard is based off the circumstances, such people would merely have to use more care because of the circumstances.