Res Ipsa Loquitur

What happens when you get hurt and decide to pursue compensation, but there’s no direct evidence to prove that it happened because someone was negligent?

Negligence is the basis for most personal injury cases, which means that someone doesn’t take necessary precautions and someone else gets hurt. Sometimes accidents happen, but when there’s no direct evidence to prove that it was due to negligence, the only logical explanation for your injuries is that someone was negligent. At this point, you (the plaintiff) might be able to invoke the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (Latin for “the thing speaks for itself”), but you’ll typically have to provide proof to substantiate your claim. 

Here’s what you need to know:

In tort law, res ipsa loquitur is a principle that infers negligence from the very nature of the accident in absence of direct evidence to how any defendant behaved. The plaintiff can create a rebuttal by proving that the injury would not have occurred without negligence, and the object that caused the harm was under the defendant’s control. 

To prove res ipsa loquitur negligence, the plaintiff must prove that:

  1. The injury was of the kind that does not generally happen without negligence
  2. It was caused by an agency or instrumentality solely in the defendant’s control
  3. The plaintiff did not contribute to the injury 
  4. A non-negligent explanation from the defendant does not completely explain the injury

Although modern formulation may differ by jurisdiction, the elements of duty of care, breach, and causation are inferred from an injury that does not ordinarily occur without negligence.

Do you need a legal document pertaining to Res Ipsa Loquitur?

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Click here to preview and download a Wrongful Death Complaint With Res Ipsa Loquitur