Proposed Oregon Personal Injury Law Would Remove Time Limits for Filing Product Liability Lawsuits

A proposed Oregon personal injury law would exclude time limits for filing product liability lawsuits in the state, an idea which has left drug manufacturers seeking a compromise.

House Bill 2909 would specifically remove statutes of limitations from product liability lawsuits. According to the American Tort Reform Association in a Statesman Journal story, Oregon is one of 19 states to have time limits on product liability lawsuits.

A 1977 law mandated that Oregon product liability lawsuits against manufacturers could be filed no later than eight years after the product was bought or consumed. A 2003 change to this Oregon product liability law allows people in the state to now file lawsuits against manufacturers for personal injury or property damage. Under this change to the Oregon product liability law, people can now file these types of lawsuits within two years of discovery or ten years of purchase; whichever comes first.

This 2003 change to the Oregon law also allows people to sue manufacturers for wrongful deaths connected with product liability within three years of discovery or 10 years of purchase.

With this current Oregon product liability law in mind, drug manufacturers are saying that they would rather not see a change in the current statutes of limitations. Jim Gardner, a former lawmaker who represents the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhaRMA), said in the story that this idea of completely removing statues of limitations for product liability lawsuits may force some manufacturers to not sell their products in the state because of a lack of Oregon personal injury protection on their behalf.

Gardner added that businesses are willing to make a concession in a proposed amendment that would add four years to current Oregon product liability lawsuit limits. Specifically, this amendment would mandate Oregon product liability lawsuits to be filed within 12 years of purchase or 14 years if involving personal injury, property damage or wrongful death.

The Statesman Journal story added that the House Judiciary Committee has yet to take action on the statute of ultimate repose.

Another Proposed Oregon Product Liability Law Would Expand Time Limits for Filing Vioxx Lawsuits!

The story further said that the Oregon legislature has already made exceptions to time limits for filing lawsuits involving specific products, including breast implants, asbestos and a birth-control device known as the Dalkon Shield.

With that said, House Bill 2448 would create an exception to time limits for lawsuits involving the prescription drug Vioxx, which was approved in 1999 for arthritis pain and later removed in 2004 by Merck after it was linked to elevating the risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Specifically, this proposed Oregon product liability law would require any Vioxx personal injury lawsuit for product liability or negligence to be filed within four years in which the person discovered or should have reasonably discovered the relationship between the injury and the product.

As for civil lawsuits involving wrongful death from this product, this proposed law would require Oregon residents to file a suit within six years of first discovery or reasonable expectation of discovery of this relationship.

By expanding the statutes of limitations for lawsuits involving COX-2 inhibitors from two years to four years for product liability and three years to four years for wrongful death, Gardner said that Oregon legislators are unfairly targeting one class of medicines.

Portland personal injury lawyer Lawrence Baron disagreed in the story, saying that the Legislature is right in trying to change the statute of limitations for COX-2 inhibitors like Vioxx because someone might discover the injury more than two years after this type of medication was purchased.

The story added that the Judiciary Committee is expected to work on this Vioxx bill this week, and we'll keep you updated on any developments with these proposed Oregon product liability laws.

Do You Know the Statutes of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Your State!

Ultimately, this story is just another example of how important it is to realize that certain types of personal injury claims may often be bound by statues of limitations and to take immediate action after being injured because of someone else's negligence.

If you have any questions about product liability or believe that you may have a personal injury claim for a defective drug or another product and need to learn more about your state's statute of limitations, don't delay. Speak to a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible to begin examining the details surrounding your situation.

Simply fill out the free personal injury case evaluation form below to get started, and we'll help you get in contact with a local personal injury attorney who can answer your questions and help you proceed.

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