Res Ipsa Loquitor

Updated: 29 February 2024

What Does Res Ipsa Loquitor Mean?

Res ipsa loquitor is a Latin term that means “the thing speaks for itself.” It is commonly used in law and insurance as a method of designating liability when an injury occurs and there is no evidence other than common sense.

Insuranceopedia Explains Res Ipsa Loquitor

Deciding who will pay for damages often involves determining who is liable for the injury. Liability insurance can give some financial assistance to those who may be ordered to pay these damages. Since the insurer has to shoulder that financial burden, they have a significant interest in accurately assigning liability.

Often, however, there is no concrete and definitive evidence of liability, but res ipsa loquitor cases are those that are said to speak for themselves. If a physician accidentally leaves a medical tool in a patient after a surgery, for example, there may not be direct evidence of the physician being responsible for the incident but common sense still allows us to draw that conclusion.

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