You might be familiar with “statutes of limitations,” which say that you have to file a lawsuit within a certain time period after you suffer an injury, or else lose your rights.
But you might not know that some states also have a “statute of repose.” This is a law that usually applies where someone is injured by a product, and it says that any lawsuits have to be brought within a certain period of time after the product is first sold – regardless of when the injury occurs.
If a state has a 10-year statute of repose, then any lawsuits over a defective product must be brought within 10 years after the date of the first purchase.
So suppose you bought a used car today that was first sold in 2002. If the car had a defect that caused you an injury, but there was a 10-year statute of repose, you’d be unable to sue the manufacturer at all.
Some states have statutes of repose for medical malpractice cases. For example, if a doctor botched a procedure, but the complications didn’t show up until many years later, you might be unable to be compensated.
That’s why it’s so important to consult a lawyer as soon as you’ve suffered an injury. Even if a statute of limitations says you have a year or more before you lose the right to file a lawsuit, a statute of repose might expire within months, weeks or even days.
It’s also a good idea to keep records of purchase dates for major products, such as automobiles, appliances, power tools, play structures and swimming pool drains. That way, if something goes wrong, you’ll have information you might need in order to preserve your rights.
Contact us for a free telephone consultation to discuss any situation in which you may have suffered an injury. Call us today at 864.233.7200 or 1.800.903.8101.