August 15, 2019

If I Miss Michigan’s Statute of Limitations Deadline Can I Still File?

Life is busy enough as it is in normal circumstances, and we often have to set reminders on our smartphones or computers to deal with annual or important events so that we do not inadvertently miss deadlines. When things go wrong, and you have to deal with personal injury or a wrongful death it can be tough to keep track of time. Once you realize you could have filed suit, you may already have missed the statute of limitations or be critically short on time to get it done. Contact your malpractice lawyers in Michigan as early as possible to get advice and assistance.

What is the Civil Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is part of the civil codes and imposes a time limit on the timeframe within which a case can be filed via tort or contract law. They are known as periods of prescription and are intended to resolve disagreements or issues within a reasonable amount of time. It ensures that plaintiffs do not use the threat of a lawsuit indefinitely and ensures that evidence or testimony do not get diluted by time.

States can set their deadlines or statutes of limitation for different types of cases, and these are enshrined in specific state laws. The clock starts ticking from the time of the incident, whether it be an accident, an unlawful act, or any act of negligence, in most cases, but there may be exceptions to this rule.

If you have missed the deadline, the defendant will most likely file a motion to dismiss based on your legal right to file a claim has expired, and in most cases, the courts will dismiss. You will be unable to negotiate a settlement as the threat of court action is removed. In rare circumstances exceptions may be made, and your personal injury lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. would be able to elicit these exceptions for you.

What is the Michigan Statutes of Limitations?

The Statutes of Limitations are covered in the Michigan Compiled Laws and vary as follows:

  • Injury to Person §600.5805(2) – generally three years from the time of injury, except:
    • Government state agency:
    • Six months to file a formal claim against a state government agency.
      120 days if related to a defective highway or public building.
      Two years to file suit if your formal claim is not acted upon or denied.

    • No-fault car insurance rules; where you can only file in serious cases and death, claims must be paid in one year, and if not suit filed in that period.
    • Plaintiff is ‘insane’ at time of injury (condition of mental derangement) – one year allowed after the condition is resolved (tolling).
    • Defendant leaves the state for more than two months; the clock will be paused.
    • Minors have a ‘tolling exception’ and can file up to a year after their 18th birthday. Other specifics apply, and you must consult a lawyer.
    • Dram shop actions – (liquor served illegally) – two years.
  • Wrongful death § 600.5805(2) (borrowed from cause of death) – three years except for murder with no deadline.
  • Medical Malpractice §600.5805(4): §600.5805(8); § 600.5838a(2) – generally less time available for the sake of records being available and recollections fresh, this is two years in Michigan. In some cases, exceptions are made:
  • Product liability §600.5805(12) – three years
  • Assault and battery § 600.5805(3), (4), (5) – two or five years
  • Legal Malpractice § 600.5805(8); § 600.5838(2);§ 600.5838b – two years
  • Injury to Personal Property or Property damage §600.5805(8) – three years
  • Libel/Slander §600.5805(7) – one year
  • Fraud §600.5813 – six years
  • Trespass §600.5813 – six years
  • Contracts §600.5807(8), (9); § 440.2725(1) – written or oral six years
  • Collection of Debt on Account §600.5813 – six years
  • Collection of Rents §600.5813 – six years
  • Judgements §600.5809(3) – ct. of record ten years, ct. not of record six years.
  • False imprisonment § 600.5805(3) – two years

What Can You Do If You Missed the Deadline?

The ‘accrual’ or ‘cause of action’ normally starts the ticking clock at the time of the accident or event causing the loss, but your lawyer can help you look for exceptions. In some medical malpractice cases, you can invoke the rule of discovery of harm, in which harm is only evident after a period of time, and the courts may allow an extension. As legal deadlines are important it is best to consult with your lawyer at our law firm as soon as you realize you may have a claim, whether you know the extent of your damages or not.

If you live in Michigan, and you have suffered injury or loss, call our law firm at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) for a free evaluation of your case and quick action to preserve your right to file. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case.

Nikole has a special interest in medico-legal issues and holds post-basic degrees in medical law and business. She has developed quality improvement and safety plans for many practices and facilities to prevent medico-legal issues and teaches several courses on data protection and privacy, legal, medical examinations and documentation, and professional ethics. She has been writing professionally on legal, business, ethics, patient advocacy, research and medico-legal issues in articles, white papers, business plans, and training courses for over thirty-five years.

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