We previously reviewed the elements that must be proven for a person seeking compensation for injuries to succeed in a premises liability case. One of those elements is negligence on the part of the owner or person in control of the premises.
Under the theory of res ipsa loquitor, an injured party may be able to rely on a presumption of negligence to shift the burden to the defendant to prove the absence of fault. The phrase is Latin translates to “the think speaks for itself.”
The injured party in a res ipsa loquitor case must prove that the event that caused the injury does not occur under normal circumstances absent negligent conduct on the part of someone. The evidence must demonstrate that the event causing the plaintiff’s personal injury would not have occurred were it not for an act of negligence on the part of the defendant.
A person hit by a chair falling out of the window of an office building might be unable to prove that a negligent property owner or a negligent tenant was at fault. Res ipsa loquitor allows a judge or jurors hearing the case to infer from the facts that chairs do not fly out of building windows without an act of negligence on the part of the person in control of the office to which the window belonged.
It is not as easy to prove and rely upon res ipsa loquitor as it might seem. A property owner may still offer evidence to prove that plaintiff’s own negligence caused the accident or the injuries to happen, or the evidence may show that the plaintiff was a trespasser to whom the defendant did not owe a duty of care.
The New York laws pertaining to negligence and how to prove its existence in a personal injury case can be complex and require a careful examination of the facts of each particular situation. A New City personal injury attorney is a good source of legal advice about compensation for an accident injury.