Law Offices of Steven I. Kastner
providing a hands-on approach to every case
Call for a free consultation
More than 35 years of experience

Legal doctrine res ipsa loquitur may help win malpractice cases

A California patient may know beyond a shadow of doubt that a doctor made a mistake in his or her care, leading to the worsened conditions of the patient. Establishing the doctor error in a medical malpractice lawsuit, however, can be difficult due to the nature of health care. Fortunately, the law does provide some assistance for a person seeking to prove medical negligence through the doctrine of "res ipsa loquitur."

This legal concept, which means "the thing speaks for itself," may sound antiquated, but it can prove to be of essential value as a plaintiff seeks to establish a doctor's responsibility for his or her injury. To use the res ipsa loquitur doctrine, a plaintiff must establish a number of facts.

First, a plaintiff must show that he or she cannot obtain evidence of the actual cause of his or her injury. Second, a plaintiff needs to show that his or her injury is not the type of injury that would ordinarily happen without negligence. Third, a plaintiff must demonstrate that he or she was not responsible for the injury.

Finally, to win his or her case, a plaintiff will need to demonstrate both that the defendant or its agents had sole control of the device or instrument that caused the injury, and the injury could not have been caused by any other device or instrument.

After a plaintiff has established the aforementioned requirements, a defendant has the burden to demonstrate that he or she was not negligent in providing medical care. If a defendant cannot prove that, a plaintiff may have a winning medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you have been the victim of a possible case of medical malpractice, you may wish to seek legal counsel to discuss your options for recovery, whether based on the premise of res ipsa loquitur, or an alternative legal doctrine.

Source: FindLaw, "Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice Cases," accessed Dec. 11, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information