Res Ispa Loquitur is one of those cool old latin legal terms that has made its place in modern law and is here to stay. It is one of the more useful ones, as well, especially in medical malpractice claims.
The term Res Ipsa Loquitur literally translated means “the thing itself speaks”. In law, it means that the occurrence which brought about the injury would not, and could not, have happened absent a negligent act. It is a way of presuming negligence without having to prove it with a lot of evidence. What is a good example of that? A sponge. Yep, a sponge.
….. A sponge that was left in a person’s abdomen during surgery that was left there with “no medical justification for leaving it there.” Yeah, Res Ipsa Loquitur definitely should apply there. Leaving a sponge or other object in a person’s body after surgery can lead to infection and even death. The fact that a sponge or other foreign object was made to remain in a person’s body after surgery can only have happened because someone forgot to remove it. Therefore, the fact that it is even there is due to someone, namely the doctor conducting the surgery, was negligent in failing to remove it. Period. End of story.