Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Injury Law | 1 comment

Time Limits for Product Liability Cases in Massachusetts

Product liability cases can be highly complex. Because you are claiming that the product was defective in some way, you may be looking at several possible defendants including the manufacturer, distributor, packager, retailer, repair service provider, parts manufacturer, installer, and so on depending on the circumstances. It can take time to prepare a case and sometimes time is of the essence because of something called a statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations is a state-specific period in which a certain type of case can be filed. In product liability cases, the period can be anywhere from one to six years typically from the time of the injury or property damage. In Massachusetts, the statute is three years for both personal injury and property damage. If you file a claim more than three years after the incident, your Massachusetts personal injury attorney will be the first to tell you that it may be too late.

However, there may be a way around the expiry of the statute of limitations. One way is to determine where your intended defendant/s is based. As mentioned above, the statute of limitations is state-specific, so if you are based in Massachusetts but your intended defendant is based in Maine where the statute is 6 years, then you may be able to file a claim in Maine instead of Massachusetts as long as the incident is not more than 6 years ago.

Another way that the statute of limitations may be circumvented is when the injury is not immediately discoverable. A good example is asbestos exposure which manifests as mesothelioma or asbestosis as much as 40 years after exposure. In such cases in Massachusetts, something called the discovery rule is applied. This rule basically states that the statute of limitations will run from the time that the injury was discovered i.e. diagnosis of mesothelioma or discoverable i.e. not diagnosed but symptomatic whichever comes first.

It is important to note that there would be no need to consider these things if you don’t procrastinate and consult with a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. There is no reason to further complicate an already complex undertaking unnecessarily.

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