Supreme Court of California - 25 Cal. 2d 486
The plaintiff suffered injuries during a surgical operation performed by the defendants. The trial court entered judgments of nonsuit, but the plaintiff appealed, arguing that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies. The defendants argued that there is no evidence to show which defendant or instrumentality caused the injury. However, the court found that the circumstances of the case allow for the application of the doctrine. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies when the accident is an unusual occurrence that would not happen without negligence, it is caused by an instrumentality solely under the control of the defendant, and it is not caused by any voluntary action or contribution by the plaintiff. The case is a prime example of when the doctrine should be applied, as patients who suffer injuries from medical treatment are entitled to an explanation of what happened. Without the doctrine, patients with serious permanent injuries resulting from negligence would be unable to recover damages unless the doctors and nurses voluntarily disclosed the identity of the negligent party.
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