The CTA has moved to fire five employees it found to be responsible for the July Blue Line derailment. The fired workers were responsible for inspecting the tracks but failed to notice the deteriorated condition of the track plates. The deterioration of the track plates led to the derailment.
More than 100 people have filed suit against the CTA for the derailment. Many people suffered smoke inhalation as they made their way out of the subway tunnel.
It would seem natural that corrective action taken after an accident would be powerful evidence of negligence against a defendant whose dangerous property caused an injury — after all, if the property was safe, it would not have required repairs.
However, there is a rule of evidence against the admission of evidence of subsequent remedial measures, meaning things done after the fact to prevent the recurrence of an accident. The reason for the rule is that the courts do want to create a disincentive for property owners to fix dangerous conditions. Subject to a few exceptions, evidence of subsequent remedial measures are inadmissible to prove the negligence of a property owner.