Res Ipsa Loquitur is translated from the Latin as “the thing speaks for itself.” An injury attorney in PA can use this concept to show that a defendant was negligent, and therefore responsible for an injury, even if there is no direct proof that the defendant took action to cause the harm. This is typically a theory in premises liability cases, where something happens on the property, but there is no direct evidence as to who caused the harm. For example, if a railing gives way and someone falls to the ground below, we can use this theory to show that the property owner was at fault for failing to properly maintain the railing.
The concept of Res Ipsa Loquitur stipulates that if in a normal course of events and the absence of negligence the injury would not occur, then it can be inferred that negligence did occur. An injury attorney in PA must also show that the plaintiff and any third persons did not cause the negligence, and that the defendant had a duty to act in way so as not to cause the injury.
In simpler terms, this concept can be summarized by saying that because it is obvious to a rational observer, looking at the result, that the defendant was the cause of the injury, additional proof is not necessary.
Res Ipsa Loquitur used with Expert Testimony
Some jurisdictions stipulate that if expert testimony is used in presenting a case, then Res Ipsa Loquitur cannot be invoked, because the presence of expert witnesses indicates that the cause of injury is not “obvious.”
The counter argument is that using Res ipsa Loquitur along with expert witnesses is valid, because even though information provided by the expert witnesses bridges gaps and provides extra insight, it does not change the fact that the overlying negligence was obvious.
Pennsylvania allows the invocation of Res Ipsa Loquitur along with expert testimony, so an injury attorney in PA is free to pursue this course of action.
Medical Malpractice Cases
Another example of Res Ipsa Loquitur is found in medical malpractice cases, because the plaintiff is frequently unconscious, and therefore unable to provide information about the defendant and what actions were taken. Res Ipsa Loquitur is used by a Pennsylvania injury attorney to show that negligence did occur based on the abnormal result, without for example, having to find a witness that watched the procedure.
Jeffrey Harlan Penneys is a leading Philadelphia injury lawyer and has extensive experience in representing those who have been injured through no fault of their own. Please call at 1-800-465-8795 (1-800-injury-law) for a free, no obligation consultation.
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