August 31, 2019

What is the Michigan Statute of Limitations on Hospital Negligence Lawsuits?

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a medical malpractice injury, you may be wondering if it’s too late to pursue a case. Qualified hospital negligence lawyers can assess your case and see if it has exceeded the statute of limitations, or if it qualifies for an extended period under the law of discovery. Children who were injured by medical negligence, including mistakes and injuries incurred at birth, have extended time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Standards of medical negligence under Michigan law

To file a claim against a healthcare provider or hospital for negligence, you should first approach a lawyer who can listen to your story and look over the details of your case, including medical records, to see if there is enough evidence to move forward. Your medical attorney will then bring your case before a panel of doctors and lawyers who will review your claim and decide whether or not it meets the basic criteria of medical negligence.

The three criteria of a claim of medical malpractice include:

  • The standard of care laid out by the law was violated by the healthcare provider or facility.
  • The injury is a direct result of an act of negligence by the healthcare provider or facility.
  • The injury resulted in damages, both economic and non-economic.

If the panel finds enough evidence to support these three criteria in your case, you will be able to file a claim against the provider or facility that caused your injury.

Statute of limitations

According to Michigan law, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within two years of the date of the injury, “or within six months after the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the existence of the claim, whichever is later.” While this may seem like a long frame of time, things can move very quickly, and the statute of limitations may pass you by. The sooner you recognize and bring your case to a lawyer specializing in medical malpractice at our law firm, the sooner evidence can be preserved and collected, and your claim can be put before the malpractice panel.

Law of discovery

Michigan does allow for the “law of discovery,” also known as the “statute of repose,” in malpractice cases in which the immediate cause of symptoms or problems is not known. If you, in good faith, have sought out answers to your medical issues from doctors for more than two years after the injury date and can prove this diligence through witnesses and documentation, you have a good case for the law of discovery. The law of discovery allows medical malpractice lawsuits to move forward, under a judge’s discretion, for up to six years after the date of the injury or negligence.

There are two exceptions to the six-year deadline: if the victim cannot procreate as a result of the negligence, or if the provider purposely concealed evidence which led to a delay of the claim.

Children and medical malpractice lawsuits

Children who experience birth injuries, which may not be diagnosed or discovered until several years later, can file a hospital negligence lawsuit until they are 15 years old. The lawsuit can be brought forward by a child’s representative or legal guardian in the child’s name.

Common birth injuries with a delayed diagnosis into the teens can include learning deficits, attention deficits, and emotional problems associated with brain injuries and hypoxia during labor. A child may also have a claim if their doctor did not perform proper tests in utero, after birth, or into their childhood. Delayed diagnosis of congenital heart defects, for example, is one claim a child could bring forward upon discovery in their early teens.

Wrongful death

Wrongful death lawsuits fall under the two-year statute of limitations. However, if a death is caused by a medical injury or negligence past the two-year limit, it may qualify under the law of discovery. This will also require strong medical documentation which links the death to the date of the injury or negligent act.

Contact us

Eileen Kroll is one of the most qualified hospital negligence lawyers in Michigan because of her unique background as a registered nurse. She will use her medical knowledge, along with her skills as a practiced attorney, to handle your case with diligence and determination. Call Cochran, Kroll, & Associates today at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529).

Joy is a professional writer with 12 years of experience, and she spent 10 years as a high school English teacher. Joy has her Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education, and she's working on her Master of Arts in English. She has three years of experience writing about legal matters including medical malpractice, car accident insurance law, and pet ownership rights. She enjoys spending her time with her three dogs.

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