February 26, 2013 Articles

Res Ipsa Loquitur in Aviation Litigation

By Lea P. Valdivia

In the context of aviation accidents, where often the wreckage is either lost or damaged beyond aiding in investigation, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur arms plaintiffs with the tools to overcome what can seem like insurmountable challenges in meeting their burden of proof. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur helps the plaintiff by creating an inference of negligence where direct proof of the same is unavailable or difficult to acquire. Res ipsa loquitur, or “the thing speaks for itself,” allows plaintiffs to avoid proving the elements of duty and breach where an accident would not have occurred but for the negligence of an actor.

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