If you have sustained an injury from a product which you used and wish to claim damages for the injuries, bear in mind that defective product liability claims are governed by a time limitation. This is known as the “statute of limitations” which every state has in product liability cases and varies from one state to another.

How soon should I file? 

When it comes to product liability issues, the sooner you file your case, the better.  Learn your state's particular statute of limitations as soon as you can, so that you know the time constrains you're working with. If you have hired a personal injury attorney this is the first detail he/she will discuss with you. No matter how compelling your claim may be, you won't have a case if you don't file in time. 

What is the time limitation in states?

While the statute of limitations in product liability claims varies from one state to the next, it's at least one year in every state. Some states extend their limits up to four years. 

What if I’m too late?

If the statute of limitations has expired in your state, you have a few options. You could still file a claim in another state – like the state where the defendant lives or works – if you are within the statute of limitations prevailing in that state.

When does the clock start ticking?

In some cases determining the start of the time limit is easy. For example, if you have been injured by some defective sports equipment, and in your state the product liability statute of limitations is two years, then you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of injury.

Other cases are not so simple. For example, if you are working with chemicals you might find yourself getting a skin condition which can be related back to the chemicals. In certain instances this could be months, or even years after exposure. In such situations where the precise date of injury cannot be pinpointed there are extenuating rules that apply. Again, these rules vary from state to state, so this is something to discuss with your personal injury attorney. 

Asbestos is similar to the situation mentioned right above. There are people being diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos cancer who worked with asbestos back in the 1960s and 70s and who are finally feeling the horrendous health effects of these tiny particles now, so they are still able to file claims.