Texans who have been injured or have a wrongful death claim for the loss of a loved one arising out of a defective product should be aware of the Texas products liability statute of repose. Section 16.012 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides that a products liability action must be brought within 15 years from the date of the original sale by the defendant.
It is important to note that the event which starts the 15 year clock ticking is the sale by the defendant. The primary defendant in a Texas products liability action is usually the manufacturer. Keep in mind that the purchase by a consumer may take place a considerable time after the statute of repose starts to run. For example, consider the situation in which a truck is manufactured in 1993, sold to a dealer in January of 1994, sold to a consumer in January of 1995, and driven for 15 years by the original consumer who rolls the truck over in January of 2010 and is killed when the roof pillars allow the roof to crush. Because the applicable statute of repose runs from the date of the sale by the defendant (January of 1994), the Texas statute of repose on the wrongful death case against the manufacturer starts to run in January of 1994 and expires in January of 2009. While the roof crush case and the resulting wrongful death claim would normally be subject to a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the accident the claim would be barred by the applicable statute of repose before the cause of action accrued.
In this scenario there is nothing the wrongful death claimants could have done to avoid the statute of repose. However, being aware of the statute of repose becomes critical in situations where the statute of repose expires during the applicable statute of limitations. Using the above scenario assume that the truck was originally sold by the manufacturer to the dealer in January of 1996. Under this scenario, the two-year statute of limitations on the wrongful death and survivor claims arising out of the roof crush case which occurred in January of 2010 would not expire until January of 2012. However, the statute of repose would bar the claims when it expired in January of 2011, one full year before the 2 year statute of limitations expired.
Texas victims of a defective product should calculate not only the applicable statute of limitations but also the applicable statute of repose.
For more information contact a Tyler Defective Product Lawyer today.