One of the easiest ways for defendants to get a product liability lawsuit dismissed is by proving the plaintiff did not file the claim in time. So it is crucial for plaintiffs to file their defective product liability claims within the state-mandated deadlines. Our dedicated Miami consumer protection attorneys believe those injured by a product have the right to be compensated for their injuries. The first critical step is to file the product liability lawsuit within the Florida statute of limitations.
Florida Statute of Limitations
Every state has different statutes of limitations that regulate when defective product liability claims can be filed. Time limits of one to three years are most common, while limits of four or more years are rare. Luckily for Miami consumer protections attorneys and their clients, Florida has a statute of limitations of four years. Despite this generous window of time, a product liability lawsuit should be filed as soon possible after the plaintiff discovers their injury.
Injury Discovered vs. Injury Occurred
These two terms are used for indicating when the clock starts ticking on statutes of limitation for filing defective product liability claims. In some states, a time limit begins to run at the time the injury occurred. However, some injuries are not so easily detected, and in many cases plaintiffs are unaware of their injuries caused by defective products until months or even years after the injury actually occurred. Taking this into account, the clock on Florida’s time limits begins to tick after the injury is discovered or should have been discovered.
Secondary Statute of Limitations
In some states, there is another law concerning time limits for legal action to be taken. This secondary deadline is also called a statute of repose. A statue of repose sets a time limit preventing consumers from filing defective product liability claims concerning products that were originally sold 10 to 20 years ago. Florida enacted a 12-year statute or repose in 1999. Therefore, plaintiffs must file their claims within 12 years after the product was delivered to its first customer or else their suits will be dismissed immediately.
Since a statute of limitations defense is often very simple and effective, in some cases manufacturers will send out notifications to potential plaintiffs which will start the clock ticking on the time limit. These notifications can state the product is defective, but sometimes manufacturers will send offers to replace the product without explicitly stating the product is defective. Both methods may cause the Florida statute of limitations to begin to run.
To fight against a possible statute of limitations defense, plaintiffs should file their defective product liability claims as soon as possible. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a defective product, consult with a knowledgable Miami consumer protection attorney to learn when would be the best time to file your product liability claim.