Quantum Meruit Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Quantum Meruit, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Quantum Meruit?

(n) Quantum merit is the determination of value of the services extended based on the amount of work and the rate of work existing there for similar work, when an agreement or contract is not existing between the parties. This Latin word ‘kwahn-tuhm mare-ooh-it’ means “as much as he deserved.”

History and Meaning of Quantum Meruit

Quantum meruit is a Latin term that is commonly used in law to refer to the reasonable value of services that have been provided without a contract. The term originates from the phrase "as much as he deserved," which reflects the idea that compensation should be based on the value of the services provided rather than an agreed-upon contract.

In legal terms, quantum meruit often comes up when parties have not agreed on payment terms before a service is provided. In these cases, a judge may be asked to assess the reasonable value of the service provided based on the amount of work done and the rate of pay for similar services.

Examples of Quantum Meruit

  1. A homeowner hires a contractor to do some work on their house, but the two parties never agree on a contract or payment terms. The contractor completes the work and sends a bill for a reasonable amount based on the amount of time and effort put into the project.

  2. A consultant provides advice to a client but does not have a formal contract in place for payment. The consultant submits a bill based on the reasonable value of their services.

  3. A freelance writer is not paid by a client even though they completed the work they were hired to do. The writer may be entitled to payment based on quantum meruit.

Legal Terms Similar to Quantum Meruit

  1. Unjust enrichment: This legal term is used when one party has benefited unfairly at the expense of another party, and the law seeks to rectify this by requiring the benefiting party to provide compensation.

  2. Implied contract: An implied contract exists when two parties have not explicitly agreed to terms, but the agreement is inferred by their actions or conduct.

  3. Reasonable value: This term refers to the fair and just value of something based on the effort, skill, and time put into it, as well as market rates for similar services or products.