When a person is seriously injured on the property of another in Georgia, it may be difficult to prove that the property's owner acted negligently, resulting in the person's injury. Proving negligence is necessary in order to prevail in a premises liability case.
Because the law recognizes that it can be difficult to prove that a business or other property owner acted negligently, the law allows plaintiffs to use a legal theory called res ipsa loquitur to meet their burden of proof regarding the element of negligence. The phrase translates from Latin as "the thing speaks for itself." In other words, people can use this theory to show that if negligence didn't exist, the injury wouldn't exist.
In order to successfully assert res ipsa loquitur, the plaintiff will need to demonstrate that the accident that happened is one that normally would not unless negligence was involved. The plaintiff will then need to prove that his or her own actions or those of a third party did not cause the injuries. Finally, he or she will need to prove that the property owner owed a duty to the plaintiff, and the owner's negligence breached the duty of care that was owed.
Not all injuries that happen on the property of others are caused by negligence. When they are, however, res ipsa loquitur is available to plaintiffs in order to help them prove that the property owner acted negligently. When preventable accidents are caused by the negligent actions of the property owner, people who are injured may be able to file civil lawsuits in order to hold the owner liable. In this way, injured plaintiffs may recover damages from the property owner to pay for the losses they have suffered because of their injuries.