Subsequent remedial measures in Missouri personal injury cases

Posted By || 21-Nov-2011

Generally speaking, corrective measures taken by defendant after a personal injury are inadmissible to prove fault. However, in Missouri product liability personal injury cases, it is much easier to get subsequent remedial measures into evidence. For example, was the product flaw corrected and do the subsequent models sold have that correction? Those corrections or modifications can be used as evidence at trial in product liability cases in Missouri.

Missouri law allows evidence of subsequent remedial measures in Missouri strict liability lawsuits, and the courts have stated:

"[T]hat in strict liability cases, post remedial measures may be relevant. In strict liability cases, fault prior to the accident is not material. Instead, the question is whether or not there was a defect in the product when the plaintiff was injured. Subsequent repairs can be probative of this fact." See Pollard v. Ashby, 793 S.W.2d 394, 403 (Mo. App. E.D. 1990).

The Federal Rules of Evidence are not as favorable as the Missouri rule on this point, however, for proper purposes this evidence can be introduced in Federal cases as well. Federal Rule of Evidence 407 states that subsequent remedial measures are admissible for "proving ownership, control, or feasibility of precautionary measures, if controverted, or impeachment."