As legal terms, “personal injury,” “medical malpractice,”
and “product liability” encompass a wide range of physical,
psychological, and emotional injuries that are intentionally or inadvertently
perpetrated by a negligent party. Before injured plaintiffs can file their
claims, they must first reach out to an experienced attorney who can determine
if their case is still valid per their state’s statutes of limitations
and statutes of repose. While these state laws both function as countdowns
to determine a plaintiff’s right to file a civil lawsuit, there
are a few key differences that must be taken into account.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Each state has their own law and regulations regarding the statute of limitations
for injury-related cases. In Texas, plaintiffs generally have 2 years
to file their personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability
claims. There are a few nuances and exceptions to this law, which is why
it’s so important to discuss your case with a knowledgeable legal
This clock starts ticking when a plaintiff suffers harm or when the plaintiff
reasonable discovers the injury in question. If a plaintiff tries to file
their personal injury claim after the deadline has passed, the court may
refuse to hear their case. Likewise, the defendant may also have the grounds
to request a case dismissal based on the statute of limitations.
What Is a Statute of Repose?
A statute of repose, or a “nonclaim statute,” is also a time
limit that cuts off a plaintiff’s ability to recover damages. However,
because this law provides an absolute defense to liability, it tends to
favor defendants more than plaintiffs.
For example, in product liability cases, the statute of repose prevents
lawsuits if a certain amount of time has passed since the product was
initially sold by the manufacturer. Per section 16.012 of the Texas Civil
Practice and Remedies Code, a plaintiff has 15 years to file a claim for
a defective product. While this may seem like a long time, it’s
actually a legal matter that can be quite tricky to deduce.
For example, consider the following scenario:
- A manufacturer sells a defective product to a store in 2005
- The store finally sells the product to a customer in 2010
- Over the years, the customer rarely, if ever, uses the defective product
- In 2021, the defective product is responsible for injuring the customer
In other circumstances, this scenario could lead to a product liability
claim. However, since it’s been over 15 years since the manufacturer
initially sold the product, the court may not be able to hear the case.
Likewise, due to Texas’ statute of repose laws, plaintiffs only have
10 years to file medical malpractice claims. Once the 10 years has passed,
the negligent omission or act is barred.
The statute of repose for medical malpractice claims may prohibit the following
statute of limitations exceptions:
- The plaintiff discovers the injury after 2 years
- The plaintiff is being treated over a period of time
- The plaintiff tolls the statute of limitations by giving notice.
Ready to File a Claim? Schedule a Consultation Today
Filing an effective and accurate claim can be incredibly difficult without
legal guidance. If you’re filing a personal injury or product liability
claim, contact the Austin personal injury attorneys at The Stewart Law
Firm, PLLC. We can thoroughly investigate your case, determine if your
claim will be impacted by the statute of limitations or statute of repose,
and litigate in court on your behalf.
Pursue compensation today! Call The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC
(512) 271-5112 to schedule a consultation.