Generally, a plaintiff injured by a reckless health care provider must produce expert testimony regarding the breach of the standard of care. In cases in which the harm suffered is clearly the result of negligence, though, the plaintiff may be able to argue that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, which means that evidence speaks for itself, applies and an expert opinion is not necessary. In a recent New York opinion in a matter involving the negligence of a proctologist, a court explained what a plaintiff must prove to show that res ipsa loquitur applies. If you were hurt because of a negligent proctologist, you could be owed damages, and you should consult a dedicated Rochester proctology malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
The Plaintiff’s Harm
It is reported that the defendant performed a colonoscopy on the plaintiff. During the procedure, the defendant repositioned the plaintiff, causing him to fall. The plaintiff injured his right shoulder as a result. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging negligence claims. Following discovery, the defendant moved to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed through summary judgment. The plaintiff objected to the motion, arguing that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applied, and therefore, he did not need to produce an expert opinion to prove liability. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.
Res Ipsa Loquitur in Medical Malpractice Cases
A plaintiff seeking to rely on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur must show that the event that occurred was one that does not happen absent negligence and that the instrumentality that caused the harm suffered was within the exclusive control of the defendant. The plaintiff must also prove that the injury was not the result of his or her voluntary actions.