The Clock Is Running, If You Intend To File A Product Liability Claim

Every state and province have a limit on the amount of time available to any consumer that has become harmed in some way by a purchased product. Yet that limit varies from state to state and from province to province. Still, all consumers should keep in mind the fact that such limits have been established.

What are the typical statutes of limitations?

Many states have chosen to enforce a 2-year statute of limitations. Some have extended that limited amount of time to a period of 3 years. A small number have even granted consumers 4 or 5 years in which to file a claim. None of the states have reduced the limited amount of time available for filing to a span of less than one year. You might want to discuss the details of your case with a personal injury lawyer in Cornwall before you file a claim.

When does the time limit start?

In some states the clock starts ticking when the consumer becomes injured. In other states, the statute of limitations starts when the consumer discovers the injury, or should have discovered the injury. In such regions, consumers are expected to note unusual symptoms, and not rely on the results of a diagnostic test.

In addition, manufacturers have forced the legal system to introduce this phrase: statutes of repose. What are those statutes? Those are the limited amount of time available to a consumer that has been notified about the possible defect in a purchased product. That notification often makes only a subtle reference to the suspected defect.

Because manufacturers have chosen to disguise their disclosure of a problem, Ontario give consumers up to 2-15 years to file a product liability claim. In that case, the Statute of Limitation starts when the manufacturer sends the first notice. Consumers that ignore such notices may later discover that any claims submitted after the 15-year time-span will not be heard by the courts.

How do manufacturers disguise the existence of a problem?

The most common disguise comes in the form of an invitation or offer. The consumer that has purchased the defective item gets a letter. In that letter, the same consumer gets invited to return the newly-purchased item, in order to receive a replacement. The letter might suggest that the replacement would be more desirable than the item presently possessed by the unsuspecting consumer.

Manufacturers know that not all consumers will have the time or inclination to return to the store, or the send back the product named in the letter. Consequently, the time period for the statute of repose has begun, but the consumer remains unaware of that fact. Hence, a consumer might hold onto a harmful item, without realizing the consequences. When the same consumer recognizes the harm done to him or to her, the statute of repose has finished.