Several different deadlines dictate how long you have to file a product liability case in Florida. You must consider if the statute of limitations or the statute of repose apply to your case, as both could bar you from taking your case to court. In general, you have:
- Four years from the date of an injury accident
- Two years from the date of a fatality accident
- 12 years from the date the product went on sale to the public
Time Limits When You Suffered Injuries Caused by a Defective Product
When you suffer an injury caused by a defective product, Florida law gives you four years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against the product’s designer, manufacturer, distributor, or any other liable party. If you do not take action by this date, the court will likely prohibit you from ever holding anyone accountable in a civil suit.
Florida law has some exceptions to this rule. The state’s discovery rule, (Florida Statute § 95.031(2)(b)) stipulates that if you did not discover until later that you suffered injuries or that they occurred because of a product defect, the clock may begin upon this discovery.
For example, imagine you were in a car crash that caused your airbag to inflate. Your car sustained some body damage, but your injuries seemed much more severe and more than four years later, you are still struggling with injuries linked to that incident. You call us for a free case evaluation. If we determine that an airbag defect caused your long-term injuries, we may be able to successfully argue that the clock should not begin running until we discovered the link between the defective airbag and your injuries.
The bottom line: Always discuss your case with an attorney, even if you think you missed the deadline to file a suit. You may still be able to pursue compensation.
Deadline Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
If you lost a family member in a car accident or incident caused by a defective product, Florida law only gives you two years from the date of your family member’s death to take the liable party or parties to court. Two years is not much time when you consider that an attorney will need to thoroughly investigate what happened and if the death was caused by a product defect.
Limitations from Florida’s Statute of Repose
Florida puts a 12-year statute of repose on product liability lawsuits involving almost all consumer goods. The only exceptions are products that have a specific warranty that covers a longer period, and some commercial transportation products such as airplanes and trains.
A statute of repose differs from a statute of limitations. Unlike a statute of limitations that begins to toll on the date you suffer injuries, the statute of repose begins when a consumer can first purchase or use a product. For example, if your 2010 model year car contained a defective airbag, the clock would begin ticking in late 2009, when the 2010 models went on sale – not when you bought the car.
This means you have 12 years from the date the product hit the market to hold the manufacturer or other liable party responsible for defects. Florida offers very few exceptions to this statute, so it is important to take action before this deadline expires.
Corporate concealment of a defect is an important exception to the statue of repose. If the plaintiff can prove that the company knew about the defect and took action to hide it, the statute of repose and you can proceed with your product liability lawsuit.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Florida Defective Product Injuries
If you believe you suffered an injury because of a defective product, we encourage you to call the product liability lawyers at Newsome Melton today. We offer free case reviews and consultations and can explain any deadlines that may apply in your case. Even if you believe you may have missed a deadline, let us take a look. There may be exceptions that allow us to proceed with your case.
If you recently suffered injuries, your best chance at recovering full compensation is to act quickly. Don’t put your right to file suit at risk. Give us a call as soon as possible after a defective product injury and let us get started on your case right away.
Call us to learn more: 888-808-5977.