Bringing a products liability action in the state of Texas is subject to time restrictions. The one that is well-known is the statute of limitations, which requires a plaintiff to initiate a lawsuit within two years of the date on which the injury took place or the date on which the plaintiff discovered the injury if for some reason the injury was not immediately evident at the time that it occurred.
But there is another Texas statute that can also have a bearing on the time within which a person can sue for damages based on products liability: the statute of repose
The effect of a statute of repose is to establish an overall time limit for product liability actions based on a given product. This statute does not use the date of injury or when the plaintiff discovered it, but rather establishes a time restriction on products liability lawsuits so that they must be commenced not later than 15 years after the date on which the named defendant in the lawsuit sold the product.
The statute of repose prevents what could otherwise amount to a form of unlimited liability of the seller or manufacturer defendant by creating a lifespan for the product’s use. The 15-year time limit can be extended in limited situations, including when the defendant has a written warranty on the product stating that its useful life is longer than 15 years, or if the manifestations of the plaintiff's injury do not appear before the end of the 15-year limit.
The interaction between the statute of limitations and the statute of repose can be confusing for anyone not experienced with how Texas products liability law works, and the purpose of this post is only to raise your awareness of the issue. You should not take what is written here as being an exhaustive treatment of the subject, nor as any form of legal advice.
If you have been harmed by what you believe is a defective product, you should consult with a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney who is familiar with Texas law as soon as possible to ensure that your claim is not time-barred under either the statute of limitations or the statute of repose.