Res Ipsa Loquitur


Res Ipsa loquitur

Applies when there is 
  • A kind of event that could not possibly happen if someone was not negligent.
  • More probably than not, that negligent person was the defendant.


Elements to satisfy 

Instrumentality must have been the exclusive control of the defendant
            More likely than not, this defendant was negligent.

No contributory negligence by the plaintiff:         
            Only testimony is needed

Effect of res ipsa loquitur?

It merely creates an inference of negligence,
Not a presumption of negligence; not conclusive.
Or, the plaintiff gets the case to the jury.  
Then jury can find for the plaintiff or the defendant

Res ipsa loquitur gets the plaintiff’s case to the jury.

Important to remember:

            Do not use res ipsa loquitur if there is evidence of negligence.
It is only a last resort doctrine when there is no evidence of negligence. 

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