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What Is the California Statute of Limitations on Product Liability Claims?

a person on crutches with their right leg in a cast

Product liability lawsuits rely on the injured party’s ability to prove that their injury was caused by a product malfunction or that the product was defective to begin with. So what is the statute of limitations for product liability in California?

When making a product liability claim, the injured party must factor in the statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations for lawsuits of this type is 2 years from the date the injury should have been discovered.

What Is a Defective Product?

Many wonder what "defective product" means. Under California law, there are three types of product defects that can justify a product liability claim:

  • Design Defect – The product had a poor design;
  • Manufacturing Defect – The product wasn’t manufactured correctly
  • Marketing Defect – The product had inadequate or insufficient labeling and instructions.

Any or all of these factors can contribute to a person’s injuries. For this reason, it’s important to keep an accurate record of how you believe the product malfunctioned.

When Does the Limitations Period Start?

If you know right away that an injury occurred from a defective product, the case has a high chance of getting through the court system smoothly. However, this isn’t always the case. Some injuries don’t appear for months or even years after initial exposure to the defective product. For example, a product could be emitting hazardous fumes, which the user won’t know until they begin to exhibit symptoms, like a cough; they may not even realize it is from the product unless there is a recall or other people are affected in a similar way.

If an injury isn’t discovered for a long time, it doesn’t mean the statute of limitations has necessarily expired. In California, the statute expires 2 years after the injury should have been discovered; not 2 years after it initially occurred. However, the statute does not pause and begin again if you knew something was wrong but waited to be examined by a physician.

To trigger the limitations period, some companies will send a notice to people who have purchased their product informing them of any general defects. This notice doesn’t always state or refer to a specific defect. If the company offers to replace or repair a product, it could count as a notice to the start of the limitations period.

Contact Eliot Reiner APLC

If you were the victim of a defective product injury, we can help. Our firm has extensive experience handling product liability cases and we can help you seek full compensation for your injuries, as well as any pain and suffering.

Call our firm today at (916) 778-3228 or contact us onlinefor a consultation.

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