Friday, December 18, 2009

Legal Definition of Res Ipsa Loquitur

Legal Definition of Res Ipsa Loquitur: "The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur has its foundation in the concept that the defendant should not be able to thwart a legitimate claim by the plaintiff by means of his silence or his unilateral control over those matters which would otherwise provide evidence. Today the doctrine is generally accepted as having three elements....

'• when the thing that inflicted the damage was under the sole management and control of the defendant, or someone for whom he is responsible or whom he has a right to control;

'• the occurrence is such that it would not have happened without negligence. If these two conditions are satisfied it follows, on a balance of probability, that the defendant, or the person for whom he is responsible, must have been negligent. There is, however, a further negative condition;

'• there must be no evidence as to why or how the occurrence took place. If there is, then appeal to res ipsa loquitur is inappropriate, for the question of the defendant's negligence must be determined on that evidence.

'The (first two) elements harken back to the historical roots of this doctrine.

'The remaining element relating to the drawing of an inference as to negligence, is in essence a common sense application of circumstantial evidence.'"

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Phil Reddish telling on him self