A defective product injured you severely. Maybe it was a power tool. Or the brakes in your car failed. Or your laptop computer or smartphone battery exploded.
In such cases, you know right away that a defective product caused your injury. Under New Jersey law, you generally have two years from the date of the injury to sue the manufacturer and/or seller of the defective product. (Children under 18 usually have longer.)
But suppose that a defective product hurts you, and yet you are not aware of it for years.
How could this be? How could one sustain a severe injury, and yet not be aware that a defective product caused it?
Actually, it is not uncommon at all for someone to have a defective product injure them, yet not associate the injury with the product. A recent New Jersey products liability case illustrates this.
A man I’ll call Ken suffered from severe infections. But he apparently could not identify the cause of the problem. That is, he couldn’t identify the cause until he received a recall notice from a manufacturer of medical wipes. The medical wipes were not properly sterilized. Thus, Ken claimed, use of these defective wipes on him caused his infections.
DEFECTIVE PRODUCT CASE – DID VICTIM WAIT TOO LONG?
The facts of the case are complicated. Basically, the manufacturer tried to dismiss the case because Ken waited too long to sue. Ken’s products liability lawyer did not file the lawsuit until after two years passed from the time of use of the wipes.
Nonetheless, Ken’s products liability lawyer asserted, New Jersey law, in cases where it is not knowable immediately that a defective product caused an injury, allows a victim to sue within two years from the time the victim should have reasonably made the association.
Ken claimed that he only became aware of the cause of his infections when he received the recall notices from the manufacturer. His products liability attorney filed his lawsuit within two years from the date of the last recall notice.
But the trial judge granted the manufacturer’s request anyway. Accordingly, the judge dismissed the case.
However, Ken’s product liability attorney appealed. The appeals judges reversed the trial judge’s ruling. They reinstated the case. Ken will get his day in court.
Nonetheless, only batches of the product covered by the second recall can be included in the lawsuit. Even the appeals judges agreed that Ken waited too long to sue respecting the batches that the first recall notice covered.
Ken’s case teaches that, if you ever feel that there is any possibility that a defective product injured you, don’t risk your case by delay. Contact an experienced defective products lawyer immediately.