Ohio Product Liability Laws

Ohio's product liability laws protect consumers who are injured by products that have flaws arising in the manufacturing or design process. They cover a wide range of circumstances; toys with small parts that are a choking hazard, products containing toxic elements, and exploding cell phone batteries can all result in lawsuits that hold manufacturers and suppliers responsible for the resulting injuries. However, Ohio product liability laws are complicated and include limitations on the amount of damages that can be claimed, the timing to file suit, and the degree of responsibility of the consumer.

The following chart and discussion provide some insight into Ohio product liability laws:

Statutes of Limitation

Discovery Rule Used

  • Yes, tolling until reasonable care should have led to discovery (Burden v. Lucchese, 877 N.E. 2d 1026, 1031 (Ct. App. Ohio 2007).)

Statute of Repose

Limits on Damages

Comparative Fault

Time Limits

A legal claim needs to be pursued within a specific period of time or it is lost. This time limit is called the "statute of limitations." Ohio product liability laws generally require that a case be filed within two years of the incident that caused injury, though there are some limited exceptions to this rule.

One such exception involves the discovery of the injury. Certain kinds of product failures can cause damage without the damaged person becoming alerted to the issue. Examples include the failure of a medical implant. In Ohio, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the point at which a reasonably diligent person would have known of the injury.

A related exception involves construction or repair of real estate and is called the "statue of repose." Many potential defects in construction are difficult to identify. For this reason the statute of limitations on product liability claims relating to construction or improvement on real estate is 10 years long.

Limits on Damages

Some states reduce or eliminate the ability to claim damages where the consumer's own negligent actions contributed to the resulting injury. There are several different theories relating to the allocation of liability and its impact on judgments. Ohio product liability laws employ the modified comparative fault standard. This means that the relative responsibility of the parties involved in an accident are reviewed and the injured party cannot be more than 50% responsible for the resulting injury. However, they can recover, even if they were equally responsible for the outcome. Modified comparative negligence is the most common approach to liability in the United States.

Basis for Liability

Ohio laws permit the recovery of damages under four basic theories of product liability:

Representation & Warranty

Product liability may also attach where the product fails to conform to the manufacturer's representations and warranties. To recover the plaintiff must have relied upon the manufacturer's representation, which was the direct and proximate cause of the resulting injury.

Get a Free Initial Claim Assessment

If you have been harmed by a defective product, Ohio's product liability laws are there to protect you. The claims and defenses in product liability claims can be very complicated and manufacturers vigorously defend these kinds of cases in an attempt to avoid costly recalls. Contact a local attorney for a free initial claim assessment to learn how they can help you get a fair outcome.

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