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The Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur

The Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, in Latin implies that “facts speak for themselves.” In tort, a sheer effect of an accident is not substantial and overall proof of actions of negligence. In most instances, however, the acts of negligence are blamed on the defendant because the thing or item that causes injury was under his control. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur explains that, for one to be charged with negligence, the person must have been in a position to administer an exclusive control of the item that caused the injury. As long as there is no unique and identifiable evidence to suggest negligence, an action, is in fact, devoid of negligence (Best and Barnes, 2007).

Identification of an Appropriate Legal Situation

A simple example illustrating the doctrine is the following one. During construction, Company A was building a roof in town. A load of bricks fell onto a passing pedestrian causing injuries to the pedestrian. This is an epitome of facts speaking for themselves. If the construction company had taken extra precautions and ensured that bricks could not fall on the pedestrians passing by, no injuries would have been reported.

Res Ipsa Loquitur comprises three elementsFirstly, an incident causing injury does not ordinarily take place unless an individual acted negligently. Secondly, the type of negligent activity lies within the scope of the responsibility of the accused to the plaintiff. Thirdly, the evidence eliminates all the possibilities that the actions of the plaintiff or a third party caused the injury (Buckley and Okrent, 2004). . The plaintiff must prove that the harm was due to the defendant’s negligence.

Designation of an Investigation Plan

The investigation plan identifies the process that was applied to gather facts regarding the dispute from the passing by pedestrians and other eye witnesses that were at the scene at the time of occurrence. Other issues involved in the investigation may require an interviewing process and an analysis of the recorded facts as well as some other procedures in order to determin the next step.

Conducting the Investigation

Several possible causes of the incident must be investigated to identify the facts that relate to the issue of the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitor. The questions for investigation are stated below:

  1. What duty of care exists between the construction company and the pedestrian?
  2. Is it possible to establish that the act of negligence took place?

Identification of Issues and Facts Presented

There are arguments against the concept of covering the damages caused. Tort damages caps are forbidden by the constitutions of the state. The primary argument against the tort reform is that it is not fair to the plaintiff. For instance, why should an individual who is hurt not be fully compensated for the damages and injuries caused to them? In most cases, the injuries caused are painful, gruesome and permanent. If the primary objective of a tort law is to restore the plaintiff to their original position, how can the law be fair enough to administer the correct amount of punitive measures an individual receives? Another argument is that the tort principles tend to violate the rights guaranteed by constitution. The damages in tort pose restrictions to the jury’s power inappropriately.

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Report on the Legal Issues and the Possible Solutions


Mint v. Good

The plaintiff was injured by the collapsing wall that was adjacent to the highway. The wall belonged to two houses that were being let on a weekly basis. The breakdown of the wall was the result of failures in the repairs that neither the landlord nor the tenant had stipulated in an agreement. The plaintiff held a case against the landlord on the grounds of Res Ipsa Loquitur (Best and Barnes, 2007).


A plaintiff had been injured as the result of the fall of a wall adjacent to the highway. The wall collapsed because of lack of repairs by the landlord. The plaintiff, therefore, had the exclusive rights to take the matter to court against the landlord on the grounds of Res Ipsa Loquitur. The rule that applies to that doctrine is that the injuries would not have happened if it had not been for the defendant’s negligence in the maintenance of the wall.

The Injury on Demised Premises

Irrespective of the existence of implied contract, the landlord may not be liable to the tenant or a third party for any injuries resulting from damages to the house. There is no law that regulates the tumbling down of a construction. It is, however, clear that, even if the landlord has made a covenant to do any repairs regarding the leasehold property, it has no regard to a third party. Therefore, such 3rd parties cannot claim the resulting benefit of that covenant because there is no privity between them and the landlord..

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The injuries would not have occurred if it had not been for the negligence of the owner in the maintenance of the wall. If a person is hurt on a highway, he or she must investigate if the action that led to his injury was related to the defendant’s practical usage of the freeway. If this is the case, then, proceeding from Res Ipsa Loquitur, he must prove the negligence of the landlord. On the other hand, if the damage is a result of wrongful actions that the landlord did not have the right to do by any means, the victim can be compensated for the foreseeable injury without the necessity to prove carelessness. The defendant was, therefore, held negligent for the damages caused to the plaintiff.

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It must be noted, that if an individual is injured on a highway, he or she must first establish if the damaging action that took place and injured him was accidental and the defendant’s actions which had effect on the usage of highway were reasonable. Secondly, is the plaintiff able to prove carelessness of the action? Moreover, if the damages were caused because the defendant had no right to operate or erect a construction close to highway, the victim, in such case, is able toto recover the foreseeable damages without the need to prove the landlord’s carelessness. Therefore, the defendant is deemed liable for the negligence and other damages (Buckley and Okrent, 2004).

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The punishment for a tortious activity entails the compensation of the party injured in terms of monetary value. In some instances, the court order can demand that the tortfeasor do or fail to do something, for instance, with regard to trespass, defamation, libel or slander. The negligence in tort takes place when one party fails to administer the necessary care that a prudent individual would have done in the same circumstance.

To prove negligence in a case, the defendant must owe a reasonable duty of care to the plaintiff. The defendant failed to demonstrate that care. As a result, the plaintiff suffered a loss. The incident caused evidenced damages.