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What Is the Statute of Limitations in California for Product Liability?

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Chuck Geerhart
product liability statute of limitations

After suffering an injury from the use of a defective product, it may be easy to feel lost or confused. Fortunately, injured persons may have the opportunity to file a lawsuit and recover from their injuries.

To do so, it is important to understand product liability claims and the statute of limitations imposing a time restriction on filing a lawsuit. The Law Office of Chuck Geerhart is ready to help.

What Is a Product Liability Claim?

Product liability claims arise when a defective product causes an injury. A product liability claim aims to hold the manufacturer or seller responsible for placing the defective product into consumers’ hands. There are three types of product defects that are likely to cause harm to consumers:

  • Design defects—defects that present even before the product is actually produced, making the design of the product unsafe or unsuitable for consumers;
  • Manufacturing defects—defects that occur during the manufacturing or assembly process; and
  • Marketing defects—defects in the way a product is marketed, including inadequate instructions, inappropriate labeling, or insufficient warnings.

Once an individual has suffered an injury or illness due to a defective product, the first step should be consulting with a product liability attorney as soon as possible.

Filing a lawsuit to recover for injuries sustained may be an option, but there is not an unlimited amount of time to do so. A lawyer will help ensure the lawsuit is filed on time to avoid any bumps in the road.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a law limiting the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit. These time limitations are imposed on all lawsuits, and the amount of time allowed depends on the type of lawsuit. 

It is crucial to know and understand the statute of limitations for every kind of case. Failing to file a claim within the specified amount of time can prove detrimental.

While the injured party can still file their lawsuit, they are unlikely to succeed. Once the opposing side discovers the statute of limitations has run, they will bring it to the court’s attention and the judge will throw out the case.

For this reason, it is essential for individuals injured by defective products to speak to a California product liability attorney as soon as possible. Beginning the lawsuit process with plenty of time can provide invaluable peace of mind and a fair opportunity to receive financial recovery.

The Product Liability Statute of Limitations in California

Under California product liability law, the statute of limitations is two years from the time the injured party knew or should have known of their injuries. So, for example, if the injured person discovered their injury on December 1, 2020, they would have until December 1, 2022, to file their lawsuit.

The language used for the products liability statutes of limitations is slightly different than that used for other types of lawsuits.

The time clock for products liability claims does not begin to run until the injured party discovers or should have reasonably discovered their injuries. This differs from other kinds of claims, where the time clock begins to run on the date of a significant incident.

If a defective product causes property damage along with injuries, the affected individual has three years from the date that the property damage occurred to bring their lawsuit. It is still wise to file a lawsuit within two years to avoid missing the chance to seek recovery for injuries. 

Once the injured individual discovers their injury caused by a defective product, they should consult with a products liability attorney in California right away. Waiting can mean losing the chance to seek compensation.

Why Is There a Statute of Limitations for Product Liability Claims?

There are various reasons why most types of claims have a statute of limitations restricting the amount of time the plaintiff has to file. In particular, for products liability claims, there is a statute of limitations because:

  • The defective product may have been destroyed over time;
  • Important evidence can go missing or become unavailable;
  • Access to medical records becomes more challenging as the years go on; and
  • The more time goes on, the more difficult it is to assess injuries and damages caused by the defective product.

The party injured by the defective product cannot stop the clock once it has started to run (except in very limited circumstances). Therefore, it is imperative to seek help from a qualified products liability attorney in California to preserve the right to fair compensation.

Consult with Product Liability Lawyers in California

Products liability cases can be challenging, and injured individuals may be unaware of the exact amount of time available to file a claim.

Once you have discovered an injury or illness caused by a defective product, you should consult with a product liability lawyer in California right away. A product liability attorney will fight diligently for your right to receive financial compensation.

With over thirty years of experience, Chuck Geerhart has had the privilege of representing countless injured California clients. Mr. Geerhart began his career working as a civil defense attorney, including on many product liability matters.

This gives him a unique perspective as an attorney for injured victims, because he understands both sides of a claim and how defense attorneys think.

Our firm only takes on a small number of cases, allowing us to work closely with our clients and provide the best possible legal representation. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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