If you trip climbing a set of stairs with bunched up carpeting that makes the footing uneven, you might be inclined to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the injuries you incurred in your fall. The property owner might have the carpeting replaced after learning of your accident and resulting injuries. Although these repairs might seem like powerful evidence that the property owner was aware the uneven carpet constituted a hazard to people using the stairs, this potentially powerful information generally is not admissible to prove liability. Although this legal rule might seem counter-intuitive, the public policy behind this limitation is designed to encourage parties to remediate hazards without the fear of confirming liability.
In this blog post, our personal injury lawyers examine a pedestrian accident lawsuit in which the court admitted evidence of subsequent remedial measures. In Lee County Department of Transportation v. Cantallupo, Florida’s 2nd DCA considered a lawsuit brought by a pedestrian who slipped and fell on a water valve cover that became dislodged from the surrounding asphalt. The pedestrian sued the water company alleging that it had a duty to maintain the valve and area immediately adjacent. The water company defended by claiming its maintenance duty was limited to the valve while the city was responsible for the asphalt surrounding the valve. Continue reading →