Product liability is the area of law that allows people who are injured by defectively designed, manufactured, or marketed products to recover compensation for their injuries. Like other legal claims, product liability actions are subject to a statute of limitations, which sets the amount of time that an injured party has to file a claim.
Under Indiana Code 34-20-3-1, anyone injured by a defective product must bring a claim within two years of the date that the action accrues or within 10 years of obtaining the product that caused their injury. If, however, the cause of action accrues between 8 and 10 years of obtaining the product, an action can be brought for up to two years after such accrual. The 10-year time limit is technically known as a “statute of repose,” and is different from a statute of limitations in that it begins to run based on some predetermined event prior to any injury to a potential plaintiff.
Generally speaking, a cause of action “accrues” when the injury occurs. For example, if your child is hurt when his or her stroller fails, the date of the injury would be the date from which the statute of limitations is measured.
In some cases, however, the injury is the result of long-term exposure rather than an acute event, such as is the case with asbestos and mesothelioma. Indiana law specifically addresses this situation and allows a person injured by asbestos to bring a claim within two years of when the cause of action accrues, which is defined as when the person is aware of the fact that he or she has an asbestos-related disease or injury.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured
You may be reading this and feel that you have plenty of time to speak to a lawyer about your potential product liability case, but do not let Indiana’s two-year statute of limitations on these kinds of claims lull you into complacency. It is important to remember that product liability claims are often extremely complicated, and it may take your lawyer several months or more to even determine whether you have a claim at all.
Some of the kinds of evidence that may you may need to obtain to pursue a product liability claim include the following:
- Internal business communications
- Schematics or design plans
- Manufacturing records
- Expert testimony
The more time your lawyer has to investigate your case, the better your chances will be of recovering compensation for your losses. For this reason, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can after you are injured in an accident caused by a product or drug that you believe was defective.
Damages in an Indiana Product Liability Case
Many people who are hurt in accidents caused by consumer products in Indiana understandably want to know how much they can expect to recover. Because every product liability case in unique, it is impossible to provide an estimate of how much your case may be worth without conducting a thorough analysis of it. Generally speaking, people who are hurt by defective products can recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, loss of quality of life, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and any other losses they experience.
In some cases, victims may also be able pursue punitive damages from the manufacturer of the product that injured them. Punitive damages are available in cases in which a manufacturer engaged in particularly egregious conduct and are intended to punish wrongdoers and discourage others from engaging in similar conduct.
The amount that you will be able to recover depends on a variety of factors, including the following:
- The severity and extent of your injuries
- Your occupation
- Whether you were partially at fault for your accident
- Whether the manufacturer of the product was aware of the risks posed by the product
- Whether you will need future medical care
As a victim, it is important to keep in mind that damages can be very difficult to establish in a product liability case and often requires the assistance of experts. For this reason, you should always talk to a lawyer before you accept a settlement offer or take any legal action that could affect your rights.
Speak with a Defective Products Attorney Today
If you have been injured by a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, you should speak to an Indiana defective products attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today or send us an email through our online contact form.
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