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Time Limits for Filing Product Liability Cases: State-by-State

A plaintiff must file their product liability lawsuit within the period of time designated by each state. These time limits are called the "statute of limitations." In most states, the period begins when the plaintiff or injured person discovered (or should have discovered) their injury. This rule is called the "discovery rule." The discovery rule is critical in cases involving asbestos and other chemicals or materials that cause latent injuries.

A few states' statutes of limitations period begins when the injury occurred. For example, imagine that Sarah, an Illinois resident, suffered a burn injury when a new hair dryer she purchased malfunctioned, causing a small fire. She believed a product defect led to her injuries.

As her injury worsened over the next year, she was diagnosed with nerve damage. She consulted a product liability lawyer who informed her about Illinois' two-year statute of limitations for product liability law cases. Illinois law states that a plaintiff must file their personal injury claim within two years of the date the injury occurred. If Sarah does not file her lawsuit soon, the judge will dismiss her cause of action.

Statute of Repose

In addition to a statute of limitations, some states have also enacted statutes of repose. These statutes bar lawsuits that aren't brought within a specified period after some event has occurred, such as the initial sale of a product.

For example, in Arizona, a claimant must file suit within two years from when they discovered an injury occurred. However, you can no longer pursue your legal claim after twelve years. Arizona has a statute of repose that limits the time plaintiffs have to file a product liability lawsuit to twelve years from the date of purchase.

Statutes of Limitations for Product Liability Claims: State Law Summaries

Below is a state-by-state summary of the statute of limitations (and statutes of repose) for the following types of claims:

  • Design defect
  • Defective product
  • Inherently unsafe product cases

Essentially, these filing deadlines apply to all product liability actions. These deadlines apply to lawsuits a plaintiff files against the product manufacturer, designer, distributor, retailer, or wholesaler.

For the statute of limitations for each state, including the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases, visit Findlaw's page.

State

Statute of Limitations

Alabama

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. But if you're suing the original seller of the product, you only have one year from the date of injury to file your lawsuit.

Alaska

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Arizona

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Arkansas

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

California

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Colorado

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. Colorado also presumes a lack of defects after ten years from the date of purchase.

Connecticut

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. The state has enacted a 10-year statute of repose that begins to run once the manufacturer or seller has last parted with the product.

Delaware

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

District of Columbia

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Florida

Within four years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. The state has enacted a 12-year statute of repose, subject to various exceptions. If your lawsuit is based on a latent injury or illness, the statute of repose does not apply.

Georgia

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered or one year from the date of death. The state has enacted a 10-year statute of repose, subject to various exceptions.

Hawaii

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Idaho

Within two years of the date of injury. The state has enacted a 10-year statute of repose, subject to various exceptions.

Illinois

Within two years of the date of injury. A 12-year statute of repose begins to run once the product is sold, and a 10-year statute of repose begins to run once the product is delivered to the first owner. The Illinois legislature also prohibits lawsuits based on strict liability beyond eight years from the date of purchase.

Indiana

Within two years of the date of injury. The state has enacted a 10-year statute of repose.

Iowa

Within two years of the date of injury. The statute of repose period is 15 years.

Kansas

Within two years of the date of injury. There is a rebuttable presumption that a product is safe after ten years of purchase or use.

Kentucky

Within one year of the date on which the injury occurred. If injury, death, or property damage does not occur within eight years of the product's use (or within five years of the date of manufacture), there is a rebuttable presumption that the product is safe.

Louisiana

Within one year of the date on which the injury occurred. This statute does not apply to minors.

Maine

Within six years of the date of injury for dangerous drugs and medical devices. The plaintiff has six years from when the injury is or should have been discovered for all other consumer products.

Maryland

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Massachusetts

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Michigan

Within two years of the date of injury. If a product is used for more than ten years, then liability cannot be based on strict liability. There is no actual statute of repose. But after ten years from the date of purchase, there is a rebuttable presumption that the product is defect-free.

Minnesota

Strict liability actions must be filed within four years of the date of injury. For negligence actions, the claimant has six years to file their claim.

Mississippi

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Missouri

Within five years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Montana

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Nebraska

Within four years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. The state has enacted a 10-year statute of repose, which begins when a product is first sold.

Nevada

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

New Hampshire

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

New Jersey

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

New Mexico

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

New York

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

North Carolina

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. There is a statute of repose period of 12 years from the initial date of purchase.

North Dakota

Within six years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Ohio

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. There is also a 10-year statute of repose.

Oklahoma

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Oregon

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. There is a 10-year statute of repose, which begins on the date of purchase. If the product was made in another state, then that state's statute of repose applies.

Pennsylvania

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Rhode Island

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

South Carolina

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

South Dakota

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Tennessee

Within one year from when the injury is or should have been discovered. The state has enacted a statute of repose that runs six years after an injury and 10 years after the initial purchase of a product.

Texas

Within two years of the date of injury. The statute of repose is 15 years from the date of sale.

Utah

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Vermont

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Virginia

Within two years of the date of injury.

Washington

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. The state has enacted a 12-year statute of repose.

West Virginia

Within two years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Wisconsin

Within three years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. There is a statute of repose of 15 years from the date of manufacture for strict liability cases.

Wyoming

Within four years from when the injury is or should have been discovered.

Is Time Running Out? Talk to an Attorney About Your Product Liability Claim

If you or a loved one hurt yourself using a dangerous product, don't wait too long to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer. Because of the strict time limits states place on product liability claims, you want to file your claim sooner rather than later.

Missing a filing deadline could jeopardize your right to recovery. The filing deadline in your case will depend on several factors, including the type of product you were using when you injured yourself. Consider speaking with an experienced product liability attorney today.

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