The time limits for filing a product liability claim differ depending on what state you live in. But wherever you file your claim, a lawsuit should begin as soon as possible. It can take time to have all the pieces in place, and the process can extend well past the deadline. Your state’s statute of limitations governs the period of time you have to bring a legal claim against a product manufacturer or other liable party, but there are various factors that impact the application of a state’s statute of limitations.
California Statute of Limitations
The state of California enforces a two-year statute of limitations for product liability. The time limit applies to injuries caused by another party’s wrongful acts or negligence, from when an “injury is or should have been discovered”. Generally, it is triggered on the first day of the injury. If a lawsuit is filed after the deadline, and even if you have evidence to back your claims, the judge will probably reject your case.
An exception to the two-year deadline is when a claim is filed to recover compensation for personal property. If property damage is caused by a defective product or part, a three-year statute of limitations applies.
California law also accounts for the classification of injuries. An injury caused by a defective product can cause immediate harm, such as a wound or electrocution. Other impacts may not be immediately detectable; for example, a product that emitted chemical fumes that eventually caused lung damage. In such cases, the time limits on the case begin after the injury was discovered—this is often useful in defective medical product cases.
Proving a Defective Product Caused an Injury
To prove an injury was caused by a specific product, a claimant must provide clear evidence that:
- The item was dangerous or unreasonably dangerous
- Your injury is present and manifests per the statement provided
- The injury was indeed caused by using the product and,
- Would not have occurred if it didn’t have the dangerous attribute
Other Factors Affecting Time Limits
Defendants typically look for a way out using the statute of limitations wherever they can. Examples of how they can do this include:
- Manufacturer Notifications: Deliberate notifications of product defects are sometimes issued. The clock starts ticking when this notification is provided. However, the manufacturer’s communication to the consumer doesn’t always explicitly state what the problem is or that there’s a given amount of time to bring a lawsuit.
- Secondary Time Limits: Statues of repose may be set from the date a defective product was sold. These limits are often several years past the typical statute of limitations set in that state. They’re typically applied in states following the injury-discovery rule. But again, this can imply the deadline starts when you should have discovered the injury, even if you didn’t know you had been injured.
Get Help for Your Case
At The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani, we are familiar with every law that applies to personal injury claims in California. Filing a defective product lawsuit can be tricky depending on the circumstances of your case. Our skilled Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will review your case and help file a lawsuit that accounts for all pertinent legal matters. Our primary goal is to fight to get the compensation you deserve, and we’ve recovered millions of dollars in damages for clients over the years. To schedule a free case evaluation, call us at 888-952-2952 today!