What is a Statute of Repose?

In many instances, legal proceedings must abide by a statute of repose, which bars the ability to take legal action after a specific amount of time.

A statute of repose establishes a date on which an injured person can no longer take action. In other words, a cause of action for a lawsuit is eliminated when the duration under a statute of repose has expired. Unlike a statute of limitations, statute of repose cannot be tolled by special circumstances such as time from the discovery of injury.

State rules regarding a statute of repose varies. Rules will also vary among different categories of liability. In Pennsylvania, some medical malpractice claims are limited by a seven year statute of repose, but there are also a number of medical malpractice claims that are not covered under the statute. This is why it is important to discuss these statutes with a qualified attorney to fully understand the rules involved in a particular case.

To be fair, proceedings must be brought against a defendant within a reasonable time frame. It is for this reason that those who have been injured must contact a lawyer as soon as possible to preserve their legal rights.