When it comes to proving strict liability, time may greatly affect the outcome of your case. If using a product caused you injury not long after you bought it, you may have a stronger claim in a California court than if you experienced injury several months following your purchase. FindLaw explains a few reasons why time may be a factor in strict liability cases.
One of the variables that determine liability is establishing that you as a consumer did not know that using a product could cause injury. If are injured a short time after using the product, it is easier to show that the product was unsafe. However, the longer you use a product without injury, the more opportunity you have to discover a design defect that can cause an accident and discontinue use of the product before you get hurt.
A manufacturer will likely try to disprove liability by claiming you had discovered an injury-causing defect in the product but kept on using it anyway. The manufacturer or the insurance company representing the manufacturer will try to make this argument from examining the product. They might also try to pick apart your recollection of how you used the product. If they can, they will attempt to establish that you found out about the defect or other evidence of unsafe use and therefore have no right to compensation.
The manufacturer may also argue that you had changed or modified the product in a substantial way over time. Many products experience change from the time they are taken out of their package. A user might change parts, add or subtract accessories, or have the product repaired. Sometimes a product can become dented, scraped or damaged in some fashion. Any of these changes can give a manufacturer cause to say that the product that injured you is not the same product you bought off the shelf.
This article is not written to provide you with legal counsel. Product liability cases take many different forms, so you should only read this article for educational benefit.