Were you hurt in an accident in Stockton? If your injuries were caused by another party’s negligence, you have the right to seek justice and compensation through a personal injury claim. To bring a successful personal injury case in California, a claimant (injured victim) must show the defendant’s liability. Res ipsa loquitur is a principle that lowers the legal burden on injured victims in certain circumstances. Below, our Stockton personal injury lawyers provide a comprehensive guide to the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur and explain how it could affect your case in California.
Defining the Legal Term: Res Ipsa Loquitur
As with many esoteric sounding legal terms, res ipsa loquitur comes from a Latin origin. It essentially means something akin to “the thing speaks for itself.” The principle can come into play in some personal injury cases. Res ipsa loquitur is used to argue that the accident in question, by its very nature, implies negligence on the part of the defendant.
Understanding How Res Ipsa Loquitur Impacts a California Personal Injury Claim
The principle of res ipsa loquitur is not an issue in every personal injury case. Indeed, it will only be raised in a minority of cases. That being said, it could be an issue in your case. If it is, it is useful to understand that there are specific guidelines for the jury. Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI No. 417) states that a jury may use the principle of res ipsa loquitur to rule that a defendant is negligent based its finding of the following three things:
- The injured victim suffered harm and the nature of the accident was such that it probably would not have occurred without some form of negligence;
- The defendant was the sole party in control of the thing (vehicle, premises, etc) that led to the victim’s harm; and
- The victim’s voluntary conduct did not play a significant role in contributing to their own injuries.
You Must Prove Damages to Maximize Your Financial Recovery
Proving liability is a necessary part of any personal injury claim in California. Still, it is not enough to get you the full and proper financial compensation that you are entitled to under the law. You must also be ready to show the extent of your damages. A personal injury settlement/verdict for an accident in Stockton will (generally) be compensatory—meaning any monetary damages will be tied to an actual economic or non-economic loss. Damages may be recovered for:
- Property losses;
- Medical bills;
- Long-term medical care;
- Lost income and loss of earning power;
- Pain and suffering;
- Permanent disability or disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death.
Contact Our Stockton Personal Injury Attorney for Help
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our California personal injury lawyers have secured more than $25 million in financial compensation on behalf of our clients. We have what it takes to hold negligent companies and large insurers to justice. Contact our personal injury team now to schedule your free, no-commitment case assessment. From our Stockton law office, we fight for the rights of injured victims throughout the San Joaquin Valley region.