res ipsa loquitur

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[Latin: the thing speaks for itself]

A principle often applied in the tort of negligence. If an accident has occurred of a kind that usually only happens if someone has been negligent, and the state of affairs that produced the accident was under the control of the defendant, it may be presumed in the absence of evidence that the accident was caused by the defendant's negligence (Scott v London and St Katherine Docks Co (1865) 3 Hurl. & C. 596).

Subjects: Law.

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