P was driving behind D's tractor trailer while crossing over some railroad tracks.
A spare tire fell off of D's truck and hit P's windshield. The tire was secured by a chain that came with the trailer in 1969.
D testified that he did a pre-trip inspection of the chain but did not check every link in the chain.
Trial court found for P.
Appellate court reversed, found for D.
FL Supreme Court reversed, found for P.
Does the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur apply to the facts of this case?
Res ipsa loquitur does apply to this case since the instrumentality causing the injury was under the exclusive control of the D and some sort of negligence was required for this accident to occur.
Res ipsa permits but does not compel an inference of negligence in certain cases.
P is required to show that the accident would not have occurred but for the D's breach of due care.
The spare tire escaping form the cradle is the type of accident which, on the basis of common experience and as a matter of general knowledge, would not occur but for the failure to exercise reasonable care by the person who had control of the spare tire.
P is not required to eliminate with certainty all other possible causes or inferences. All that is required is evidence from which reasonable persons can say that on the whole it is more likely that there was negligence associated with the cause of the event that that there was not.