What is the statute of limitations for a product liability claim in Florida?

In Florida, an action for injury to a person caused by a defective product based on the theories of strict liability, negligence, or contract must commence within four years. The statute of repose is 12 years but may be subject to various exceptions. Failure to file within the time limit leads to the inability of suing. For example, if you discovered the injury on January 1, 2020, you must file a Florida product liability claim by January 1, 2024.

A product liability claim must be filed within the period established by each state. In most states, this period does not begin until the claimer or the person who has been injured discovered or should have discovered the injury.

This is called the discovery rule and represents a helpful basis in filing for an extension in case injuries are detected at a later time.

In some states, this period begins when the injury actually occurred. Also, some states have enacted statutes of repose, this meaning that the plaintiff has to file the lawsuit at a specific time after the injury not to be barred from receiving compensation.

For example, in Florida, action must be taken in four years after discovering that the product you have bought and used is defective and is reduced to two years in case of wrongful death claims. Moreover, this state has enacted a statute of repose of twelve years with some possible exceptions, of course.

Failure to file within the time limit established by the statute of limitations leads to the inability of bringing legal action. 

According to the 2015 Florida Statutes:

"Under no circumstances may a claimant commence an action for products liability, including a wrongful death action or any other claim arising from personal injury or property damage caused by a product, to recover for harm allegedly caused by a product with an expected useful life of 10 years or less, if the harm was caused by exposure to or use of the product more then 12 years after delivery of the product to its first purchaser or lessee who was not engaged in the business of selling or leasing the product or of using the product as a component in the manufacture of another product."

An action for products liability under s. 95.11(3) must be deployed within the period prescribed in this chapter.

What is the basis for liability?

Successfully holding someone liable for their harmful product can be done in two ways:

  • by determining the products liability - focusing on the product itself
  • by negligence - focusing on the actions of the seller, manufacturer, and/ or distributor.

A product can be considered inadequate due to several types of defects, known as:

  • defective design - the product is deemed to be unreasonably dangerous to be used for its intended purposes
  • manufacturing defect - a misstep in the manufacturing process caused the use of the product to lead to injuries
  • marketing defects - handling the product comes with several risks of harm that should have been brought into awareness by the manufacturer or the supply chain via instructions or warnings.

Product liability cases are quite complex. To find out who is guilty of the damage or injury it is often necessary the assistance and the opinion of an expert. Not to mention that each state has its laws and this might affect the product liability action. Therefore, if you or your loved ones suffered an injury because of a defective device, we recommend you to contact our Miami-based office today.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.