An Orange County personal injury attorney will help you file a case against someone who is at fault for the troubles that cost you a lot in medical bills and injuries. But before you start checking for the location of an attorney, you should know who is responsible.

In this post, the concept of the Res Ipsa Loquitur will be discussed. What does it mean? When can it be used? What can an orange county attorney do for you under this term?

There are certain situations when you can quickly guess who is at fault. And there are situations when you look closely and you can’t tell who is at fault. Even if you think someone else is at fault, you might be mistaken. Here is a bunch of situations: a plane crash, the crash of a train, the collapse of a bridge, a car broke into someone else’s lobby, etc.

 If you think of who is at fault without investigating, you will end up confused. For instance, someone might be at fault for each of the situations – the maintenance guy notices corrosion on the bridge but chose to ignore it, the man behind the control of train got drunk and slept off, the driver is speeding and the car finds its way into a lobby.

When you know who is exactly at fault

When you know who is exactly at fault, Res Ipsa Loquitur is applied. The term means ‘the facts speak for themselves.’ You don’t have to worry and do too much investigation, the fact is there for all to see.

Res Ipsa Loquitur contains the rule (relating to evidence) which permits an injured person to skip the normal regular proof of negligence when claiming for damages in order to earn compensation from the parties who are at fault.

In Res Ipsa Loquitur, the plaintiff will not use direct evidence to prove that the accident is a result of another person’s (defendant’s) negligence. Also, the main objective is to proof the person is responsible and not usually to earn compensation. Once the plaintiff shows that the defendant is at fault by narrating their own tale and brandishing evidence, the defendant has a duty too. The defendant must defend themselves. The defendant will explain how the accident happens and try to prove that the plaintiff is also at fault.

Here’s a typical example

John is walking past his house when a big object falls off and hits him on the head. John believes the owner of the building is a fault. If he/she puts everything in place, the big object will not have hit him on the head. But the owner of the house is away at the next town when the event happens. John files a case against the owner of the house using the rules under Res Ipsa Loquitur. The big object is completely the woman’s possession at the time of the accident. The injury he sustains doesn’t happen as a result of his fault, he is just walking around his house. According to the rule of evidence under the Res Ipsa Loquitur, the woman has the opportunity to explain why an object falls out of her house or he/she will be held liable by the court.

Or another example

Jenny visits a hospital for a check-up. He/she has known the hospital for a while and trusts the staff for a long time. During her check-up, he/she is declared to have a serious issue and later, an operation is performed. It goes well, the doctors tell her there is no complication and he/she will be fine forever. Then the unexpected happens: a week after the operation, Jenny is going blind. By the third day, Jenny is completely blind. Although no one can tell if the doctors are in any way careless, what other explanation does Jenny have? Jenny appeals the Res Ipsa Loquitur, claiming that the hospital is at fault. Now the doctors have to show up and give a reasonable and valid proof that jenny blindness is not their fault or that Jenny is partially at fault, else they will be called negligent.

Res Ipsa Loquitur doesn’t use direct evidence. This is fast and straight than the usual proof of negligence. The injured person or plaintiff will have to show the court that

•    The injured person is injured in a situation that is not normally without negligence

•    The responsible party is in total control of the location of the accident or in control of what caused the accident (legalese instrumentality)

•     The injured person’s act of negligence does not in any way contribute to the accident

•    The injured person’s case must contain a lot of evidence that exhibits (or allow the interference) the 3 elements of Res Ipsa Loquitur, the law court will shift the liability on the defendant in terms of the damages. the defendant has a chance to express the details of the accident 

•     To avoid being held liable, the defendant(s) has to show the court that their story of the event is more accurate than that of the injured person, and that the things used in the accident (instrumentality) is not theirs, and that the plaintiff is somehow at fault

A car accident and Res Ipsa Loquitur

In most cases of car accidents, the rule of Res Ipsa Loquitur does not apply. This is because there is more than one party who could be responsible for a car accident, and when it is only one party, this cannot be determined very easily from the evidence.

Despite these limitations, Res Ipsa Loquitur has been used in situations such as the ones below

•    When an object is not attached well to the rear of a car

•    When a parked car moves and caused damage without anyone’s action or intervention

•    When a person stops her car in the center of the road  and causes traffic

Observing the three situations above, you will notice that each of the situations doesn’t happen very often. And usually, some of the situations are settled before they could reach the court of law, even before Res Ipsa Loquitur can be used. The defendant might consider it wise, save himself the stress of going to a court, and settle out of court.

In case, you still have questions about Res Ipsa Loquitur, you should meet an Orange County personal injury attorney. He/She can examine your case closely and give you clear and helpful legal assistance.