Law Offices of Judy Snyder

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Medical malpractice: What does ‘res ipsa’ mean?

Whenever a personal injury plaintiff files a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice, they will be at a severe disadvantage. The treating physician are experienced in all things related to medicine, so they will be particularly skilled at defending their actions in court. Not only that, but the medical provider probably created the very medical records that the plaintiff will use as evidence in his or her case. Physicians are skilled at writing chart notes in a way that reduces the chances that they could be at legal risk later.

This is where the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitur could come into play to assist the defendant. In Latin, this legal phrase means "the thing speak for itself." It's common to hear this phrase in English outside of legal contexts even today. This rule implies that plaintiffs only need to reveal the fat that his or her injuries arise as a result of the doctor's negligence.

The successful application of res ipsa requires the following:

-- The unavailability of evidence related to the cause of injury.

-- The injury normally would not have happened if not for negligence.

-- The plaintiff was not to blame for his or her injuries.

-- The defendant and/or the defendant's agents were in control of the instrumentality that resulted in the injuries.

-- The injuries couldn't have happened because of instrumentality that was not the defendant's or that defendant had control over.

If you would like an evaluation to determine if your injuries were the result of medical negligence and to evaluate whether you can pursue a lawsuit, contact our law firm today.

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