Latin for "the thing speaks for itself." In tort law, a principle that allows plaintiffs to meet their burden of proof with what is, in effect, circumstantial evidence. The plaintiff can create a rebuttable presumption of negligence by the defendant by proving that the harm would not ordinarily have occurred without negligence, that the object that caused the harm was under the defendant’s control, and that there are no other plausible explanations.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
(ray-sip-sah loh-quit-er) Latin for "the thing speaks for itself"; a legal presumption that a defendant acted negligently even though there may be no direct evidence of liability. For example, a construction company is presumed to be negligent if a load of bricks under its control falls off a roof and injures a pedestrian, even though nobody witnessed the accident. The presumption arises only if 1) the thing that caused the accident was under the defendant's control, 2) the accident could happen only as a result of a careless act, and 3) the injured plaintiff's behavior did not contribute to the accident. Lawyers also refer to this doctrine as "res ips" or "res ipsa."
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:23 pm