What is a Statute of Repose?

Statutes of Repose in Texas

In the course of some legal cases, a defense attorney may bring up the topic of a statute of repose. Although this phrase may be unfamiliar to most, it comes up on a regular basis in certain legal cases. It is somewhat similar to the more familiar concept of the statute of limitations.

Essentially, the statute of repose is used in some cases to claim that prosecution or an investigation is no longer valid in a particular case. This is usually determined by using a timeline. Learning more about statutes of repose can help people understand their particular legal case better.

Defining a Statute Of Repose

What is a statute of repose? In legal terms, a statute or repose is a legal concept that cancels out certain rights in a particular case after a predefined length of time has passed.

In most cases, a statute of repose applies to cases involving lawsuits and liability. Usually, a defendant will claim that the statute or repose applies when a plaintiff attempts to initiate a lawsuit against them for a liability claim.

In Texas, the law states that liability suits against product manufacturers have a 15-year statute of repose. This means that a plaintiff must bring a lawsuit against a product manufacturer for a defective product within 15 years of the date of the sale of the product.

For example, if a person purchases a pickup truck that has a defective airbag and that airbag fails to deploy, causing injuries to the driver, the defendant must bring a lawsuit within 15 years from the day that they purchased the truck. This even applies in cases where an injury has not yet occurred or has not yet been discovered. The statute can apply to cases like:

  • A child’s toy that is a choking hazard
  • A kitchen product that is prone to causing fires
  • A vehicle with an unsafe design

No matter what type of product is involved, the statute of repose states that a lawsuit must be filed within 15 years of the date of the sale if restitution is sought.

Statute of Limitations vs Statute of Repose

Although the statute of limitations and the statute of repose are very similar, they have one very important difference. The statute of limitations takes effect on the date that an injury or wrongdoing occurs. The statute of repose takes effect on the date that a certain action is completed, such as the date of the purchase of a defective product.

Statutes of limitations and statutes of repose both have predetermined lengths of application. This length of time can vary based on the type of injury or criminal action that occurred and what laws were broken. For some crimes, the statute of limitations can be tolled until a certain time in the future. This means that it won’t take effect at the date of the offense. Rather, it will begin upon a future date, such as the plaintiff’s 18th birthday.

Legal Considerations

When a person is considering filing a lawsuit for a defective product, they must carefully consider their options. The most important step in this process is to hire an experienced attorney. An attorney who has personal experience with filing lawsuits may be able to provide invaluable advice and guidance during the course of the lawsuit process.

The laws regarding civil and criminal lawsuits can be very complex and the average person may have difficulty trying to understand the process. Also, major corporations keep teams of experienced defense attorneys on retainer and they are sure to put up a fight when they are being sued.

An experienced attorney may be able to use strong evidence, witness statements and documentation to prove that their client is deserving of damages from the company which manufactured a defective product.

Are you in need of criminal legal defense? Matthew D. Sharp is the tough, smart lawyer you need. Contact his office today at 713-868-6100.