Statutes of Repose: Nullifying Responsibility for Harm

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When one has to deal with the aftermath of injuries resulting from a dangerous product, medical malpractice, fraud, or personal injury, there can be a great deal of stress. Statute of repose and the statute of limitations may make it mandatory to bring a suit forward as soon as possible even if your physical or mental condition makes it difficult to do so. This is because once the statute of repose or limitations expires on a legal claim a case cannot be brought forward creating additional stress for victims.

Many assume that if one is wronged the ability to seek remedy will always be open ended. This isn’t the case. Often legal proceedings must abide by a statute of repose, which limits a victim’s timeframe for recourse. And can nullify any legal responsibility that the wrongdoer or corporation has done to the victim.

A Stricter Deadline

A statute of repose is a stricter deadline than the statute of limitations because it gives a hard date in which a legal action can be filed, without exemptions. The termination date surrounding a statute of repose is much more defined than the broader rules found in a statute of limitation.

When the period of time under a statute of repose is expired, the statue extinguishes the cause of action as if the event never existed. Specific rules surrounding statutes of repose vary from state to state—and can vary among the different categories of liability. So it is important to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations also gives a specified timeframe when one is allowed to initiate a civil tort action. Once the statute of limitations has expired, no matter how much merit a case might have, it is not possible to initiate legal actions. However, unlike the statute of repose, the statute of limitations does allow some exceptions that can extend the deadline and, in some cases, even avoid any existence of a deadline. Here are three examples:

1. When one discovers a recently diagnosed medical condition; which is the result of a defective product that was ingested several years ago.

2. When the case involves a murder, which holds no statute of limitations. Assaults, however, do have varying statutes of limitations based on a particular state’s law.

3. When the injured party is a minor.

When the Law Protects the Minor

As hard as it might be to consider, minors are often the victims of negligent actions. Fortunately, there are considerations and exceptions found within the law that provide added protections to a minor. One example of these exceptions is the Minor’s Tolling Statute that sets aside the rigid rules of the statute of limitations by amending them. When minors assume the role of a plaintiff in civil proceedings, a modification to the statute occurs stating that statute of limitations doesn’t go into effect until the minor has reached the age of 18.

Some say the presence of the statutes summarized above gives a means for negligent parties to use loopholes in the law to avoid responsibilities and penalties. Then, there are others who say the presence of such laws is the result of poor legislation designed to give the defendant the advantage.

One thing is for sure. Every victim must appreciate the existence of these statues for their own sake—and understand the benefit of working with a personal injury lawyer, such as Seeger Weiss, as quickly as possible.