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Statutes of Repose

What is a Statute of Repose and how might it affect my rights?

In many ways a Statute of Repose, sometimes also known as a Nonclaim statute, is a corollary to the Statute of Limitations. Where the statute of limitations sets out the time period after an accident in which a lawsuit must be filed, a Statute of Repose cuts off your ability to bring a lawsuit after a certain time, regardless when an injury occurs.

Statutes of Repose are often encountered in the area of products liability law, barring a claim a certain period after a product is manufactured or delivered. For example, the follow situation sometimes arises in relation to automobile accidents, assume a state has a 10-year statute of repose that covers automobiles. 11 years after the car is purchased, a defect in the vehicle causes the car to rollover, seriously injuring the driver and passengers. Because the vehicle is more than 10 years old, a lawsuit cannot be brought against the manufacturer of the automobile, even though the manufacturer’s defect caused the injuries.

Even if the automobile was first purchased only 9 years before it malfunctions and causes serious injury to a user, and the applicable statute of limitations is 2 years, a 10-year statute of repose would prevent the injured person from pursuing a lawsuit once only 1 year had passed.

These statutes are intended to limit actions against manufacturers (or their successors) for product that has been in use for a given period of time. They are often enforced much more strictly than a statute of limitation, as the period of repose may not be tolled in the case of fraud or a delayed discovery of injury.

There are many factors that can affect your ability to pursue a lawsuit after an accident. Contact the Nashville accident injury attorneys of Pohl & Berk today to discuss whether you may have the right to compensation for your injuries from a negligent party.

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