Thousands of individuals are injured every single year as a result of dangerous or defective products. Thankfully, there is a law in place that protects individuals when they are injured by these products. Known as product liability law, it allows people to recover damages from the manufacturer of the dangerous or defective product or other involved parties within the chain of distribution.
When a customer decides that they want to pursue a product liability lawsuit against the responsible party or parties, they must understand that the case isn't just over with overnight. These types of cases take time. Here are a few issues that can potentially impact the overall timeline of a consumer's product liability complaint.
The State's Statute of Limitations
The most important thing for you to understand as a consumer is your state's statute of limitations. Not knowing the statute of laminations might keep you from moving forward with a product liability lawsuit. If you wait too long to talk to a lawyer after being injured, you may not even get to file a complaint due to the statute of limitations.
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations is three years. This means that you have three years from the time that you are injured to bring forth legal action.
Keep in mind that the longer you wait to talk to a lawyer and pursue legal action, the longer you delay holding the responsible party or parties liable for the injuries you sustained. Take action right away to avoid having your case affected by the statute of limitations.
Once you speak to an attorney regarding your injury, they will draft an official complaint and file it with the court. That complaint will then be served to the defendant or defendants. Once the complaint is received, the defendant or defendants will have a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint. In South Carolina, this timeframe is 30 days.
However, an extension can be requested and granted. This extension can be requested from your end as a professional courtesy, which the court generally will not bother with as long as everyone agrees. The court can also extend the timeframe if necessary. Unfortunately, when an extension is granted, it further delays the case.
The Discovery Process
When the parties in a lawsuit share information during the building of a case, the process is known as the discovery process. Every state stipulates what information parties may request from one another and in what forms, and what information must be overturned. During this process, attorneys are able to learn various details about the complaint and begin building their individuals cases.
The timeline of the discovery process is often dictated by court rules and applicable law, in addition to the actual case, cooperation of attorneys, and other fine details. Then, of course, attorneys can agree to discovery extensions, which can lead to delays during the discovery process.
Ultimately, it is impossible to accurately determine how long a product liability case takes to wrap up because the timeframe depends on a number of factors, including the details of the case, the parties involved, and the complexity of the situation. These factors can impact the timeline of a product liability case and hinder any time estimates, especially when all cases are different.
However, the most important thing for everyone to know is to call an attorney as soon as you realize you have been injured by a dangerous or defective product. Do not delay, as this can negatively impact your case. Contact us at The McDaniel Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss the details of your situation.