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Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer | Panio Law Offices

Products Liability: Failure to Warn

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There are numerous products on the consumer market that are inherently dangerous. Yet they are sold every day and often those who suffer injury as a result of their use may not actually be eligible to recover personal injury damages.

Meat cleavers, lawn mowers, sundry power tools and even household cleaners all pose specific hazards, but only certain conditions precipitate a valid personal injury claim. Manufacturers and distributors of many products seen as inherently dangerous must by law provide warning of the danger inherent in the products they put on the market.

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Defective Products: Statute of Limitations

Most people understand that Illinois, like every other state in the nation, has a statute of limitations on filing a personal injury claims, imposing a time limit on how long a plaintiff has to file an injury lawsuit.

But filing a defective products personal injury claim has its own time limits, which set further restrictions on how long a claimant has to bring their case before the courts and when that clock actually stops ticking.

Every state has such restrictions for defective product cases and time limits vary. In Illinois, a plaintiff must bring action in a defective products case within two years of the date on which the injury occurred. This differs from other states, which set specific time limits from the date upon which the injury was discovered. The distinction is important because you might suffer an injury and not discover it for weeks or months after (as in the case of a fall that seems harmless but leads to back pain later or exposure to toxic chemicals that later develop into lung injury, for instance).

Illinois also has enacted a 12 year statute of repose that begins the day the product is sold and a 10 year statute of repose that begins the day the product is delivered to the consumer. A statute of repose sets further restriction on defective products suits in that it limits the amount of time you have to file suit irrespective of when you discovered or suffered injury as a result of the product's use.

This places the onus on the consumer to be vigilant in using the product within a time period that the courts deems reasonable.

So if you had purchased a hair dryer in the year 2000, and just recently suffered shock while using it because of what turns out to be a defective switch, even though you filed your case within two years of the injury, your case would likely be summarily dismissed because of the Illinois statute of repose.

These limitations underscore the importance of bringing your claim before the courts as early as possible in these cases. It's also extremely important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney when filing a defective products case.

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