Statutes That May Make or Break Your Product Liability Claim

Product liability laws provide claimants with an avenue of recovery for injuries caused by a defective product. In general, there are two important statutes that an injured party must consider when determining if it may bring a product liability claim: (i) the statute of limitations; and (ii) the statute of repose.

Ohio statutes

In Ohio, a claimant has two years to bring an action under the Ohio Product Liability Act pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 2305.10(A). However, Ohio Revised Code 2305.10(C)(1) bars a product liability claim if the product was first sold to its initial purchaser or lessee more than ten years preceding the injury or harm. The statute of repose applies unless the manufacturer or supplier has engaged in fraud regarding the product or provided a warranty that was for a period longer than ten years.

Indiana statutes

Indiana has similar rules. The statute of limitations is two years pursuant to Indiana Code 34-20-3-1(b)(1). Indiana’s statute of repose is also ten years from the delivery of the product to the initial user or consumer pursuant to Indiana Code 34-20-3-1(b)(2). On the other hand, if the cause of action accrues between eight and ten years after the initial delivery, the claimant has two years from that time to bring an action.

Illinois statutes

Illinois law sets forth the statute of limitations and statute of repose for product liability actions  based upon the doctrine of strict liability in 735 ILCS 5/13-213(b). A claimant must bring such an action within the “applicable limitations period,” which varies by the type of injury. For example, the statute of limitations for actions arising from damage to real property is five years pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/13-205. The statute of repose is the first to expire of either of the following periods:

      • Ten years from the date of the first sale, lease, or delivery of possession to its initial user, consumer, or other non-seller; or
      • Twelve years from the date of the first sale, lease, or delivery of possession by a seller.

However, if the defendant made express warranties or promises regarding the product for a longer time period, then that time period applies.  There are also exceptions pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/13-213(c)-(d) regarding when the product has been altered and when the plaintiff discovers the injury.

These statutes may affect a product liability claim 

The statute of limitations and statute of repose are important because they may affect whether or not a claimant can bring a product liability action. As it is critical to pay attention to state-specific deadlines, consider discussing this and other information with your attorney. Your attorney can use other information to help you understand the meaning and application of the statute as it relates to your case. Doing so may make or break your product liability claim. If you would like to discuss this matter or a similar scenario, contact an attorney from our product liability subrogation practice.