Contact our Bucks County Personal Injury Attorney in Pennsylvania Paul Perlstein who helps clients with injuries, accidents, wrongful death, slip fall, dog bites, medical malpractice, product liability, and toxic torts in Bucks County.
Call:  215 INJURY 1

Statute of Limitations in Products Liability Litigation

Limitation on Right to Sue

When a person suffers personal injury or property damage due to a product that is defectively designed or manufactured, the injured person has a set time period (called the statute of limitations) in which to file a lawsuit. Statutes of limitations restrict the time period a person has to file a lawsuit. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state. They also vary depending upon the type of lawsuit filed. For example, Ohio law allows a person six years to sue for breach of an oral contract and 15 years to sue for breach of a written contract. The Ohio wrongful death law requires a lawsuit to be filed within two years after the death occurs.

If a claim expires due to the statute of limitations, the defendant has to raise the statute of limitations as a defense in the lawsuit. If the defense is raised in court, the lawsuit will be barred. If the defendant fails to raise the defense, it is waived and the lawsuit can proceed.

Limitations Period

As a general rule, the statute of limitations begins to run from the date of the event that caused the injury. In legal terms, this date is referred to as the date on which the cause of action accrued. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. These include the delayed discovery rule and the rules that apply to minors and insane persons, which are discussed below.

Exceptions That Toll or Postpone Limitations Period

Once exception to the running of the limitations period is the delayed discovery rule. Under the delayed discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not start to run until the person filing the suit has knowledge or should have had knowledge of the injury and its cause. There is also an exception to the general rule for minors. If a minor is injured by a defective product, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until that person reaches 18 years of age. For example, if a 12-year-old child were injured as a result of a defective product, the statute of limitations would begin to run on the minor’s 18th birthday. In addition, most states provide an exception where a person is considered mentally incapacitated or insane at the time the cause of action accrued. In such cases, the limitations period is tolled or postponed until the person becomes of sane mind.

Statute of Limitations Applicable to Products Liability Cases

Products liability lawsuits are usually governed by the personal injury statute of limitations of the state where the lawsuit is filed. In Ohio, the applicable statute of limitations for bodily injury or personal property injury is within two years after the cause arose. Michigan law provides that the period of limitations is three years after the time of the injury to recover damages for injury to a person or property. The applicable statute of limitations is four years in Florida.