Res ipsa loquitur

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A legal phrase meaning, literally, "the thing speaks for itself."

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is applied to matters which, as a matter of law, do not have to be explained beyond the obvious facts. For instance, Plaintiff Doe is injured when an elevator he has entered plunges several floors and stops abruptly. Roe corporation built, and is responsible for maintaining the elevator. Doe sues Roe and during the proceedings, Roe claims that Doe's complaint should be dismissed because he has never proved, or for that mater even offered, a theory as to why the elevator functioned incorectly. Therefore, argues Roe, there is no evidence that they were at fault in the incident. The court may hold that Doe does not have to prove anything beyond the fall itself. The elevator malfunctioned, Roe was responsbile for the elevator in every respect, so they are responsible for the fall. The thing speaks for itself.