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Product Liability And The California Statute Of Limitations
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How soon must a lawsuit be filed for product liability accidents in California?
The California statute of limitations is stringent. But the clock starts ticking on an injury only after it is discovered, months or years after the accident.
We assume that when we purchase a product it has been screened for any possible harm it may cause us. Or, if there are dangers, that they are apparent - for example with firearms, knives or fireworks. We can reasonably expect products such as food, medicine, household goods, cars and even recreational items (pools, boats, baseball helmets, bicycles, etc.) to work safely.
But when a product causes its user an injury, the injured person does not automatically have basis a lawsuit. What must be proven in court is that the product was poorly designed, improperly manufactured or its inherent dangers were incorrectly explained to the user.
But even if responsibility for the malfunction of the product can be squarely placed on the manufacturer, it is absolutely imperative for the injured party in California to hire a product liability lawyer to file a civil lawsuit for damages according to the following schedule:
Within two years if the injury was obvious to you at the time the product caused you harm. An obvious case is a malfunctioning chain saw that causes serious injuries in the moment it fails.
Within one year when the injury was discovered belatedly, a period of time after the product caused you harm. An example can be when a bicycle helmet strap fails and you hit your head in what seems to be a minor accident. But head injuries can become evident many years later as nerve fibers separate as a delayed consequence of that one accident, years prior. Another example could be when serious side effects from tainted medicine arise months or years later. Some injuries simply aren’t apparent immediately.
The point is that no individual should bear the costs of medical care, therapy, medications, loss of an ability to work or loss of the enjoyment of life due to an injury cause by the negligence or error of others. These costs can be considerable and, in some circumstances, affect an entire family.
This is why it is essential to speak with an attorney who practices personal injury law and who specializes in product liability cases as soon as the injury is identified. The attorney would review your case for its viability, determining from the evidence, research and experience if a lawsuits viable. There are no upfront costs to the plaintiff because personal injury is almost always pursued on a contingency basis.
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