Products Liability: A Primer, Part 3: Important Deadlines, Economic Loss & Punitive Damages

Products Liability: A Primer, Part 3: Important Deadlines, Economic Loss & Punitive Damages

Products Liability: A Primer, Part 3: Important Deadlines, Economic Loss & Punitive Damages

This is the third part of an extended primer on products liability law in Georgia. If you’ve been harmed by a defective product, H. Lehman Franklin, P.C. has the expertise, knowledge, and experience in product liability litigation to help you recover compensation from those responsible. Georgia law protects consumers from dangerous, defective products and considers manufacturers to be in the best position to discover dangerous product defects. When these manufacturers fail, they must be held liable for any injuries or harm caused by their defective products.

*Examples of common defective and dangerous products:

  • Exploding e-cigarettes, laptops, and lithium batteries;
  • Unsafe toys;
  • Contaminated food;
  • Defective automobile failures and defects including those related to airbags, brakes, car seats, gas tanks, and tires, etc.; and
  • Prescription drugs.

*Statute of Limitation/Statute of Repose

Harm to an individual caused by a dangerous or defective product is considered a personal injury. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury causes of action is two years. The statute of limitations for damage to personal property is four years.

No action based on a dangerous or defective product under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-11 may be brought by an injured plaintiff after ten years pass from the date of the first sale for use or consumption of the personal property causing or bringing about the injury.

*Economic Loss (Only)

In the case of a product causing some economic loss but no damage to person or property, a plaintiff may not bring a product liability action based on negligence, but may still base his/her claim on breach of warranty. Long v. Jim Letts Oldsmobile, 135 Ga.App. 293, 217 S.E.2d 602 (Ga. Ct. App. 1975); Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. v. Lowman, 210 Ga.App. 731, 437 S.E.2d 604 (Ga. Ct. App. 1993).

There are two exceptions to this rule where only an economic loss occurs. One exception exists if there is a sudden and calamitous event that not only causes damage to the product but poses an unreasonable risk of injury to persons and other property. Vulcan Materials Co. v. Driltech, 251 Ga. 383, 306 S.E.2d 253 (1983). The second exception relates to false information provided to a foreseeable person that the supplier of the information was manifestly aware would use this information and rely upon it to his or her detriment.

*Punitive Damages

In Georgia, there is no cap on punitive damages, however, the state takes 75 percent of punitive damages awarded in product liability cases.

Lehman Franklin, P.C. is located at 127 North Main Street in Statesboro, GA (30458). We proudly serve Bulloch County, as well as the surrounding counties of Candler, Evans, Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, Screven, and Jenkins. Contact our office by telephone at 912-764-9616, by email at info@hlfranklin.com, or browse our website. We’re available to meet your legal needs Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM.

Products Liability: A Primer, Part 3: Important Deadlines, Economic Loss & Punitive Damages