Requirements to set up Res Ipsa Loquitur
The maxim res ipsa loquitur applies only where circumstances are established which afford reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defenders, that the accident arose from their negligence. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is that: ‘There must be reasonable evidence of negligence, but, where the thing is shown to be under the management of the defendant, or his servants, and the accident is such as, in the ordinary course of things, does not happen if those who have the management of the machinery use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care.’ As to the burden of proof: ‘So in an appropriate case the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case by relying upon the fact of the accident. If the defendant adduces no evidence there is nothing to rebut the inference of negligence and the plaintiff will have proved his case. But if the defendant does adduce evidence that evidence must be evaluated to see if it is still reasonable to draw the inference of negligence from the mere fact of the accident. Loosely speaking this may be referred to as a burden on the defendant to show he was not negligent, but that only means that faced with a prima facie case of negligence the defendant will be found negligent unless he produces evidence that is capable of rebutting the prima facie case.’
‘But where the thing is shown to be under the management of the defendant or his servants, and the accident as such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have the management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendants that the accident arose from want of care. . ‘
(1865) 3 H and C 596
England and Wales
Cited – Thomson v Kvaerner Govan Limited HL 31-Jul-2003
The defendant appealed reversal on appeal of the award of damages aganst them. The pursuer had been working within the hull of a ship, and the plank on which he was standing had snapped, causing him to fall. The plank should have been of sufficient . .
Cited – Ng Chun Pui v Lee Chuen Tat PC 24-May-1988
There had been a crossover collision on a dual carriageway.
Held: The court considered the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
Held: Where a defendant adduces evidence, that evidence must be evaluated to see if it is still reasonable to draw . .
Cited – Richards v W F White and Co 1957
The plaintiff slipped on oil and fell suffering injury, and claimed damages.
Held: There had to be some evidence to show how long the oil had been present and some evidence from which it could be inferred that a prudent occupier of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Torts – Other
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.186352