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Evidence Rule 407, known as ER 407, was a significant legal provision that addressed the admissibility of evidence pertaining to subsequent remedial measures in legal proceedings. Implemented on April 2, 1979, and later deleted on September 1, 2006, this rule played a crucial role in shaping how courts viewed actions taken after an incident.

The Core Principle of ER 407

ER 407 centered around the idea that if, after an event, measures were taken that would have made the event less likely to occur, such evidence shouldn’t be used to prove negligence or culpable conduct related to the event. This rule was based on the rationale that penalizing parties for making improvements after an incident could deter them from taking such remedial actions, which are generally in the public interest.

A. Exclusion of Evidence for Negligence

The primary application of ER 407 was in preventing the use of subsequent remedial measures as evidence of prior negligence or culpable conduct. For instance, if a company installed safety equipment after an accident, this action could not be used as evidence to argue that the company was negligent for not having the equipment in place before the accident.

B. Exceptions to the Rule

However, ER 407 allowed for exceptions. Evidence of subsequent measures could be admitted for purposes other than proving negligence. This includes establishing ownership, control over the area where the incident occurred, or the feasibility of precautionary measures if these points were in dispute. Additionally, such evidence could be relevant for impeachment purposes.

Implications in Legal Cases

This rule had significant implications in various types of legal cases, particularly personal injury and product liability lawsuits. By excluding evidence of subsequent remedial measures to prove negligence, ER 407 aimed to encourage entities to make safety improvements without fear of this action being used against them in court.

Deletion and Its Impact

The deletion of ER 407 in 2006 marked a shift in the legal approach to such evidence. The reasons behind this change reflect an evolving understanding of the dynamics between public safety, legal liability, and the encouragement of proactive safety measures.


ER 407, during its tenure, highlighted a delicate balance in the legal system between encouraging safety improvements and assessing liability. While the rule is no longer active, its principles and the discussions it sparked continue to influence legal thinking around subsequent remedial measures. The journey of ER 407 underscores the dynamic and nuanced nature of legal evidence rules and their impact on broader societal issues.

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