In the last several decades, products liability law has gone from favoring the interests of businesses to favoring consumers, and now back again to favoring business interests. Any business that manufactures, supplies, sells, or even repairs a product, may be sued in a product liability case. The statute of limitations, which determines the time period for filing a cause of action, is relevant to any product liability claim. Also relevant to any product liability claim is the statute of repose, which determines when a cause of action is extinguished.
The time limit for bringing a lawsuit established by a statute of repose is triggered by a specified action or event, such as the substantial completion of a real property improvement or the date a product was first sold or used. A statute of repose states the point in time when a cause of action no longer exists, regardless of whether it has accrued. A statute of repose, unlike a statute of limitations, is neither a defense nor an avoidance to a cause of action, because the cause of action ceases to exist once the period of repose passes or terminates.
A statute of limitation does not affect the validity of a claim but only allows a defendant to avoid a filed lawsuit. Whereas, once a period of repose expires, there is no suit to avoid because the cause of action is eliminated outright by the statute of repose. It is important to note that statutes of repose may not be tolled by fraud, the discovery of the injury, or other circumstances that would normally toll or suspend a statute of limitations.
Statutes of repose are important in product liability cases because they further restrict the time in which a plaintiff may bring an action under applicable product liability statutes of limitations. Aside from further insulating businesses from potential liability, statutes of repose also allow commercial enterprises to know when products first sold on a particular date may no longer be the subject of litigation, which facilitates business predictability, planning, and efficiency.
Powell Law has an established 115-year-old reputation throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. If you have any questions about filing a claim for damages caused by a defective product, contact Powell Law. Since 1906, Powell Law has met the needs of those who require representation in product liability matters in the greater Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. Contact Powell Law today at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay a fee unless we win.