The Latin maxim Res Ipsa Loquitur literally means that thing speaks for itself. This Maxim refers to a situation in which the facts of the case make itself evident that the defendants negligence caused the plaintiffs injury or damages. No more evident is necessary to prove the negligence of the defendant. It is an exception to the general rule because mere injury will not create an assumption of negligence. That is also a rule of evidence which allows an inference of negligence to be drawn based on the facts and circumstances of the injury. The doctrine may be applied, and negligence inferred when the plaintiff establishes that the ensuring instrumentality was within the defendant’s exclusive management and control. And the accident is of a type that does not ordinarily happen if those who have management and control exercised proper care because accidents which caused the injury would not happen without this negligence.
The application of this maxim shifts the burden of proof on the defendant. Then it is the duty of the defendant to prove his non liability and it was not his act which caused the plaintiffs injury. Another element of Res Ipsa Loquitur involves showing that the plaintiff did nothing to contribute to his own injury or damages. That is, the incident did not occur due to any voluntary action of or participation by the plaintiff. So, the elements of Res Ipsa Loquitur is instrument in exclusive control of defendant and accident should not occur in absence of negligence on the part of the defendant and evidence of causation accessible to defendant and not to plaintiff. In terms of malpractice the Res Ipsa Loquitur refers to cases where the doctor’s treatment was so far below the appropriate standard of care that negligence is assumed. In medical cases this maxim applies if the surgical team leaves any surgical instruments inside a patient body or doing surgery in the wrong side of the body and so on.
In Byrne v Boadle, Byrne is passing in front of the premise of a dealer in flour, a barrel of float falls into his body and he’s severely injured. Court held that the Boadle had exclusive control over the barrel, and he should have installed some safety measures to prevent such an occurrence. So, Res Ipsa Loquitur is applicable here.
In Surface v Johnson, court held that Res Ipsa Loquitur are not applicable in plane crashes. In Darshan v Union of India also court apply Res Ipsa Loquitur against state for the death of a driver who fallen into an open manhole.
In Sham Sunder v State of Rajasthan also court mentioned about this Maxim. In Achutrao v State of Maharashtra and others court apply this Maxim against medical professionals for leaving mop on the patient’s abdomen. But court in Jacob Mathew v State of Punjab reluctant to apply this doctrine. Court said that the patient has not favourably responded to a treatment given by a physician or a surgery has failed, the doctor cannot be held liable per se by applying the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur. Then in Sushila Devi v Municipal Corporation of Delhi, petitioner’s husband died when a branch from a decaying tree fell on him while he was driving on his motorcycle. Court applied the maxim of Res Ipsa Loquitur against the corporation.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
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