Personal Injury Law
What is a statute of repose?
A statute of repose is a special type of statute of limitations that imposes an absolute bar on liability after a certain period of time. Statutes of repose are passed in order to provide defendants—often manufacturers of products—a sense of protection after a certain point in time.
The difference between a statute of limitation and statute of repose is that a statute of limitation does not accrue, or start to run, until the plaintiff reasonably discovers the underlying problem. A statute of repose, which is longer, begins to run immediately upon the creation of the product or the delivery of services.
For example, let’s say that the manufacturer of a swimming pool designed a pool in 1999. In 2010, a young swimmer jumped off the diving board and hit his head on the bottom of the sloping-downward pool. The tragic injury was caused by a design defect in the pool—that the slope of the pool in the deeper end should have been steeper so as to prevent any type of injury. However, the state has a 10-year statute of repose for design defects in product liability cases. The statute of repose in this instance may well bar the lawsuit.