Res Ipsa Loquitur

Personal injury cases are generally brought on a claim that the defendant was negligent, and that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.  When a person brings a personal injury lawsuit, they have the burden of proving that the defendant was negligent.  In a car accident case, that usually means proving that the defendant did not operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner.  In a slip and fall case, that usually means proving that the defendant’s conduct did not meet the standard of reasonable care; for example, they didn’t properly clean a supermarket floor or remove ice or snow from a parking lot. 

In certain circumstances, the Court does not require the plaintiff to meet the burden of proving that the defendant was negligent by invoking the doctrine of “Res Ipsa Loquitur”.  This is a rule whereby the negligence of an alleged wrongdoer can be inferred from the fact that the accident happened.  In certain scenarios, an accident doesn’t happen without negligence.  Res Ipsa Loquitur is useful in cases where there is no proof of what happened.  In the recent case of Kennedy v. Abramson, et al.  (march 17, 2022), the Massachusetts Appeals Court found that the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur can be used to allow a jury to infer negligence when an outdoor deck chair collapsed.  The plaintiff did not present any evidence that the defendant was negligent or any evidence showing the chair was defective. 

If you were injured in an accident and are seeking compensation it is a good idea to speak with an attorney who is familiar with the burden of proof and what is necessary to make sure you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries.  The attorneys at Stillman & Associates would be happy to discuss your personal injury matter with you.