If you suffered an injury or illness as a result of malpractice by a medical professional, you deserve compensation for the losses you incurred as a result. Many people endure painful injuries, mountains of medical debt, and extensive lost income from medical malpractice. For this reason, Michigan law allows victims to file medical malpractice claims to seek compensation for those losses. But how long do they have to file a claim? In this blog, we outline the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Michigan, as well as other important points to remember.
At Lipton Law, we have extensive experience handling Michigan medical malpractice cases. We also have nurses on staff at our office who provide crucial insight into the medical malpractice claims we handle. If you suffered injuries or illness due to medical negligence, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Lipton Law today. Call our Southfield law office at 248-557-1688 to schedule your free consultation with us.
Michigan Medical Malpractice Laws
Each state has its own laws and regulations regarding personal injury cases as well as medical malpractice cases. Michigan law clearly outlines what plaintiffs need to prove for a successful medical malpractice claim. It also defines the medical malpractice statute of limitations for filing a claim. Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Michigan is the best way to ensure that you meet all filing deadlines and fully prepare for a lawsuit. Below, we outline some important aspects of what Michigan law requires to file a claim.
The Law of Discovery
Michigan medical malpractice claims are also affected by what is called the “discovery rule.” In general, a plaintiff has two years from the date when the medical error occurred to file a claim. However, the discovery rule states that a plaintiff must file within six months of when the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the medical error. Whichever is later between the two deadlines defines the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Notice of Intent Requirements
In Michigan, claimants must initiate their medical malpractice claim by filing a Notice of Intent to File Suit (NOI). The Notice must be in writing and served on the defendants at least 182 days before the lawsuit is officially filed. Serving this Notice also places a pause on the statute of limitations for 182 days.
Keep in mind, however, that the NOI must comply with all Michigan statutory requirements. Otherwise, the 182-day pause is voided. This can also lead to the claim being dismissed. Plaintiffs must also submit an affidavit of merit that is signed by a health care professional qualified under state law.
This medical expert must also practice or teach in the same specialty as the person/s being sued, as well as have the same board certification. The affidavit will outline what the appropriate standard of care should have been. It will also include the medical expert’s opinion on how the defendant violated the standard of care, causing injury to the plaintiff. Defendants in medical malpractice claims need to file an Affidavit of Meritorious Defense in order to dispute the claims of the plaintiff.
Does Michigan Have Medical Malpractice Recovery Caps?
Yes and no. In 1993, Michigan placed a cap only on the maximum recovery for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice claim. The cap specifically applies to damages that are not easily quantified, such as pain and suffering damages. There is no cap on economic damages, which include medical treatment costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and other quantifiable losses.
Each year, the state of Michigan adjusts the non-economic damages cap according to inflation. Currently, the cap sits at over $470,000. However, in cases where the plaintiff is permanently paralyzed, their cognition is impaired, or they permanently lose a reproductive organ, the cap exceeds $850,000.
How Long Does It Take to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Michigan?
This heavily depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding your medical malpractice action. Some cases are far more complicated than others, and this may lead to a much longer period of litigation. It is difficult to provide even a rough estimate of how long a case may take without having an attorney examine your case. On average, however, medical negligence cases may take anywhere from two to three years to resolve or to get to trial.
If you’re wondering how long your case may take, we invite you to call our Michigan personal injury attorneys and schedule a free case evaluation. We can examine the details of your medical malpractice claim and give you a rough estimate of how strong your claim is, as well as how long it may take.
Litigating Medical Negligence Cases in Michigan
Every medical malpractice case is unique, as are the circumstances surrounding them. We strongly recommend working with experienced legal counsel for your claim, as these cases can be very complex. Working with a law firm can help you meet all necessary deadlines, properly fill out any and all paperwork, and give you a better chance of success.
There are a number of ways in which a medical malpractice case can proceed. Sometimes, a civil lawsuit can resolve quickly if the medical professionals and their defense teams are willing to negotiate a settlement. Settlement negotiations can occur at any point before or during the trial.
If the case still goes to trial, both sides will need to go through the legal processes of discovery, depositions, and investigations. Your opponent may also request that you undergo an independent medical examination. Our attorneys will ensure that, during any settlement negotiations, your best interests are protected. We won’t settle for lowball offers that fail to cover your medical bills and other expenses related to your injuries. In other words, we’ll keep you informed of what a fair offer looks like for your situation.
Below, we briefly outline the legal process of filing a claim against a healthcare provider.
- Free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.
- Investigation into your claims and beginning to build your case.
- Preparation of the Notice of Intent.
- The Notice of Intent is sent, which then triggers the 182-day waiting period.
- After the waiting period, you will file your complaint with the appropriate court.
- The legal action continues with written discovery and depositions.
- Your case is evaluated by the court, and the two parties begin settlement negotiations.
- If a settlement agreement is reached, this concludes the case.
- If a settlement agreement is not reached, the case will proceed to trial.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases in Michigan?
As we mentioned previously, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Michigan is two years from the date of the medical error, or six months after the plaintiff discovered or should have discovered the medical error, whichever is later. Michigan also has a 6-year statute of repose. The statute of repose bars someone from filing a formal complaint against health care providers more than six years after the medical errors occurred.
Two exceptions to this rule exist. The exceptions occur if the defendant fraudulently covered up the error, or if the plaintiff suffered permanent paralysis, cognitive impairment, or the loss of a reproductive organ that makes them unable to bear children.
Who Is Responsible in a Medical Malpractice Case?
It’s important to understand that doctors are not the only potentially liable parties in a medical malpractice claim. Other health care providers, such as dentists, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, and therapists can also be held accountable for injured patients. Even a healthcare facility or hospital can be sued for malpractice. The best way to assign fault in a medical malpractice case is to work with an experienced attorney. We will help you gather all necessary evidence, including medical records, records of financial losses, evidence of non-economic damages, and even statements from patient safety experts.
Below, we outline some of the most common forms of medical malpractice that we see in Michigan.
- Birth injuries
- Injuries to the brain or spinal cord
- Failure to diagnose
- Surgical medical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Medication errors
- Emergency room errors
- Failing to order tests
- Misinterpretation of test results
Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
Many plaintiffs wonder if their claim will be financially worth it to pursue. It is difficult to predict what a successful claim could look like without details about the case. At Lipton Law, we offer free initial case evaluations so that plaintiffs can explore their options and decide if they want to file a claim after speaking with a lawyer. In successful medical malpractice cases, plaintiffs can receive compensation for the following financial losses.
- Current and future medical treatment costs
- Medication costs
- Current and future loss of earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Permanent disability or paralysis
In cases of wrongful death, a family member or personal representative of the victim can file a claim for not only the above expenses, but also for funeral and burial expenses.
Why Do I Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Medical malpractice cases tend to be much more complicated than the average car accident claim. When you establish an attorney-client relationship with us, we will walk you through the process of settlement negotiations and lawsuits for your case. We will help you decide whether or not you want to pursue a claim, as well as give you an idea of how long your claim will take and what it may be worth. You may need a medical malpractice lawyer if you have experienced any of the following.
- Your health care provider’s action caused you injury or illness due to their breach of the expected standard of care.
- You developed an infection in a hospital or from an unsanitary health care facility.
- Your doctor or pharmacist gave you the wrong prescription medication.
- You were injured during a surgical procedure.
- You suffered complications from anesthesia errors.
- Your doctor or provider failed to inform you of the potential risks and complications of a procedure.
Any negligent act from a medical professional has the potential to become a medical malpractice suit. To find out if you can file a claim, please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact the Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Lipton Law
At Lipton Law, we take great pride in acting as advocates on behalf of our clients. We are well-acquainted with what it takes to litigate and win a medical malpractice lawsuit. Not only will we help you build a strong case, but we will also fight tirelessly for full and fair compensation on your behalf. To schedule your free consultation with us, please call our office at 248-557-1688 or fill out our online intake form today.