The res ipsa loquitur doctrine is a species of circumstantial evidence permitting the trier of fact to draw an inference of negligence if plaintiff demonstrates that he or she was injured (1) in an occurrence that ordinarily does not happen in the absence of negligence, (2) by an agency or instrumentality within the defendant's exclusive control.
The special administrator temporarily admitted her mother, who was living with the special administrator, to the nursing home. The ambulance company transported the mother to the nursing home, and returned the mother to the special administrator's home days later. When her mother returned home, the special administrator learned that her mother had suffered a broken leg. An affidavit of a physician that was attached to the complaint stated that either the ambulance company and/or the nursing home negligently moved or handled the mother and caused injury to her right leg, failed to diagnose the injury to her right leg, and failed to properly treat her injury by referring her to a properly qualified physician. The trial court claimed that in this case, res ipsa loquitur doctrine is not applicable to both the ambulance company and/or the nursing home because the element of concurrent control is missing.
Is the ambulance company and/or the nursing home liable based on res ipsa loquitur?
The appellate court found that the evidence was sufficient to prove that there was negligence in handling the mother which caused the injury. It was found that there was indeed negligence under the said doctrine against the ambulance company.