Time Limits for Product Liability Lawsuits: Holding Manufacturers Accountable

Joseph Taraska

Manufacturers, designers, and others involved in product distribution have a legal obligation to make sure their customers are safe. However, some entities fail to uphold such safety standards, leaving purchasers with defective items that could cause serious injuries or death. 

Regardless of the initial intention, Attorney Joseph Taraska explains that customers can hold manufacturers and other parties responsible for the injuries caused by the products by filing a product liability claim.

That said, this process is long-winded and majorly complex. One of the most confusing factors is the statute of limitations (i.e., the time limit for filing a lawsuit).

Time Limits for Product Liability Lawsuits Vary from State to State

Like the majority of personal injury lawsuits, product liability claims come with time limits that change depending on the state.

The majority come with a two-year limit, including:

MississippiNew Jersey
West Virginia 

The clock starts from the date the injury occurred. Therefore, if someone suffers skin burns after utilizing a defective hair dryer, the injured party must file the lawsuit within two years from the date of the burn.

Although, some of the above-mentioned states (Indiana, for example) have a ten-year statute of repose. This means a person cannot file from the date of injury if it has been more than ten years since they purchased the product. 

Of course, not all states have a two-year limit, the following places boast a three-year statute of limitations for product liability lawsuits:

District of ColumbiaMaryland
New HampshireNew Mexico
New YorkRhode Island
South CarolinaSouth Dakota
Joseph Taraska

Others, like those detailed below, have a four-year limit:

  • Florida
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Tennessee
  • Wyoming

Select states (Maine and North Carolina) have a six-year statute of limitations for such lawsuits.

While the specific statute of limitations change based on the state, the general rule is as follows — a claim begins from the date of the injury. The statute of repose, however, begins from the date the product was purchased. 

The one exception? States where the statute of limitations start when the plaintiff discovers their injuries. Depending on the illness sustained, diagnoses may occur months later. Thus, the clock starts ticking upon diagnosis. 

Experienced Product Liability Attorneys Increase Maximum Compensation Chances

Due to the complex nature of product liability claims, people should always seek the knowledge and resources of an experienced, qualified attorney. They ensure the necessary steps are taken for their clients to receive the maximum possible compensation. 

However, plaintiffs should be careful about selecting their lawyers. It’s never a good idea to settle on the first one that appears in a Google search — shopping around for the most competent attorney with a winning track record is a must-do in these situations. 

And never look for attorneys based on their price. They often work on contingencies, meaning a percentage of the awarded compensation will pay their fees.