The House Commerce Committee has passed Senate Bill 882 Statute of Repose (Product Liability) which extends the statute of repose for damages caused by defective products from six years to 12 years (from date of product purchase). A statute of repose is an end point for pursuing a claim. Generally speaking, an injured party is barred from seeking recovery in a products liability case if the product that causes injury is over 6 years old. This new law, if passed, would extend that period to 12 years. The statute of repose is different from a statute of limitation, which, in North Carolina, states that an injury victim has 3 years from the date of injury to pursue a claim (or 2 years if the injury causes death). Regardless of when the injury occurs, if the product is over 6 years old (or 12 years under the proposed legislation) then you cannot pursue the product liability claim. Understanding the interplay between the statute of repose and the statute of limitations can be difficult. We encourage you to seek legal advice in sorting them out. The bill will now go to the House Judiciary Committee for approval. Hopefully it will become law later this year, and we will keep you updated.
This article was written by Todd P. Oxner