Most residents of Galveston understand the concept of a statute of limitation. It defines the period of time within which a claim must be taken to court. If a claim is filed after the limitation period expires, the claim is barred forever. But most Texans will only return a blank stare if asked about the state’s statute of repose.

What is a statue of repose?

A statute of repose is a limitation period that is intended to bar claims for defects in design and construction of real property or improvements to real property. In Texas, the statute of repose is ten years, and it applies to claims against registered or licensed architects, engineers, interior designers, or landscape architects.  The statute of repose is needed because improvements to real property may last for many years, far longer than any statute of limitation period. The 10-year statute of repose begins to run on the date of substantial completion of the improvement that is alleged to have caused the injury that is the subject of the claim.  In other words, all claims for injuries caused by an alleged defect in the design or construction of an improvement to real property are barred forever after the ten year repose period has expired.

Service of written notice of the claim

The period of repose can be extended if the person making the claim serves a written notice of the claim on the defendant (or defendants) before the repose period has ended. Service of this notice will add two years to the period of repose.

Anyone with a potential claim for personal injury arising out of a supposed defect in the design or construction of an improvement to real property should consult an experienced personal injury attorney for advice on whether the statute of limitation or the statute repose has expired. Generally speaking, such claims should be discussed with a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible after the injury is discovered.