What is the Michigan Statute of Limitations on Hospital Negligence Lawsuits?
The Michigan statute of limitations allows victims of hospital negligence to pursue a medical malpractice claim within two years of the date of the negligent act or omission, or six months from the date when a claimant discovered or should have discovered, they could claim, provided that a lawsuit if filed within six years of the act or omission.
What Are Your Rights for Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim?
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 on Hospital Negligence Lawsuits, 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, hospital or an independent contractor hired by a medical facility for negligence during your medical treatment, 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 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 state 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 timeframe, things can move very quickly, and you may exceed the amount of time the statute of limitations allows you to make a claim.
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.
If a healthcare facility was federally-funded or state-operated at the time of a personal injury occurring due to negligence, then different statutes of limitation may apply. In cases involving injury to a claimant who is certified insane prior to a medical malpractice claim, exceptions to the statute of limitations may apply.
Law of Discovery
Michigan does allow for the “law of discovery,” also known as the “statute of repose,” in medical 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 for hospital negligence 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:
- The victim cannot procreate as a result of the negligence
- The provider purposely concealed evidence which led to a delay of the claim.
Under these circumstances, an extended period is granted to resolve a medical malpractice claim in Michigan.
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 difficulties, 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, which has affected their future medical state. Delayed diagnosis of congenital heart defects, for example, is one claim a child could bring forward upon discovery in their early teens.
According to a study conducted by patient safety experts from John Hopkins University, approximately 250,000 people die in the US every year as a result of medical errors. The devastation this often leaves behind is incalculable.
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.
The Burden of Proof
In any medical malpractice claim, the burden of proof lies with the victim, who must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that any injury suffered while receiving health care, was the result of negligence by a hospital doctor or other medical expert. This is where our medical malpractice attorneys can help you build a case.
Under Michigan state law, victims must be able to demonstrate that:
- An injury occurred causing pain and suffering
- A medical professional(s) failed to administer the recognized standard of care
- Any injury was proximately caused by a healthcare provider’s negligence
Injured patients are also required to prove that the likelihood of their injuries occurring would have been 50% or less if not for the carelessness or negligence of those involved in their healthcare.
Should a patient fail to demonstrate these things, it will affect their medical malpractice claim and any compensation owed to them.
Potential Damages Awarded
Successful medical malpractice claims can lead to compensation for all medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, future medical requirements, and more. These are referred to as economic damages, which are tangible and a compensatory value can be placed on them.
For non-economic damages, such as the pain and suffering caused, mental and emotional anguish, loss of quality of life, and loss of companionship, which are not so tangible, under Michigan state law compensation are currently capped at $471,800.
However, for cases involving catastrophic injury or death, the compensation cap is currently $842,500.
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 trial attorney, to handle your case with diligence and determination.
Call Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at (866) 868-3779 for a free consultation and to start your medical practice claim.