In personal injury cases, defendants often try to limit their future liability by making repairs to dangerous or defective products or places under their control. Unfortunately, this is usually not evidence that can be used in a courtroom. For example, if a business allowed their stairs to fall into disrepair, causing a patron to injure themselves, the patron might not be allowed to say that the store owner repaired the steps after his injury.
The reason this evidence is barred is because the law is designed to encourage defendants to make repairs to avoid injuring people continually in the future. If the injured patron could use the evidence in court that the landowner made repairs, then the landowner would be discouraged from making repairs, in order to strengthen their defense that they were not negligent.
However, there are some exceptions that allow the evidence of the remedial measures to come in. The first is if the defendant argues that there was not a dangerous condition in the first place, in this situation the evidence of the remedial measures can come in for the purpose of refuting the testimony and credibility of the defendant, this is known as impeachment. The fact that the defendant made repairs to a condition shows that they knew that the condition was dangerous.
Additionally, if the defendant denies that it owned the property or place where the accident occurred the evidence of the repairs can come in to show that the defendant had control over the property in question.
These nuances to the law of evidence in personal injury cases make it vital to choose an experienced and knowledgeable West Palm Beach personal injury attorney to handle your case. If you have been harmed by the negligence of another contact the West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of William E. Johnson, P.A. Our personal injury experts can tell you if you are entitled to a judgment or settlement, and can help you get the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation call 561-832-4848.