Michigan Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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MICHIGAN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
When a Michigan patient has been injured by the negligent act or omission of a medical professional, they may bring an action for medical malpractice against the medical professional in Michigan. A medical malpractice action is available to injured patients to provide a means for recovery for injuries incurred as a result of the medical professional’s negligence. A medical professional is medically negligent when they injure a patient using a standard of care that other similarly experienced professionals in their industry would not use. This includes:
- Errors during surgery;
- Failure to treat or incorrect treatment;
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis;
- Improper care by hospital staff or nurse.
Who Can Be Sued in a Michigan Medical Malpractice Case?
Any Michigan medical professional that is licensed to treat or provide medical services to patients can be sued for medical negligence. A medical professional can include both individuals and organizations, for instance hospitals, doctors, nurses, specialists, assisted living facilities, and dentists. If a patient is confused about who or what counts as a medical professional, they should contact a medical malpractice attorney to assist them in this matter.
Michigan Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
If a patient believes that they have a viable medical malpractice claim, it is essential that they file the claim within the Michigan statute of limitations or else face the possibility of permanently losing their chance at recovery. Michigan law states that a claim for medical malpractice must be filed within two years of the negligent act or omission, or if the injury was not discovered until later, within six months of discovery, but in no case longer than six years after the date of the negligent act or omission. Because it is so important that an injured patient file within the statute of limitations, the patient should contact a Michigan medical malpractice attorney as soon as they believe they have been injured.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in Michigan
Michigan allows both economic and noneconomic damages to be recovered in a medical malpractice case. Noneconomic damages account for losses that are hard to evaluate financially, such as loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and physical disfigurement. Because these types of damages are hard to measure, Michigan law limits them to some extent. Michigan law provides that, in general, a patient may not recover more than $280,000 in noneconomic damages, unless the injury results in serious or permanent damage, in which case the maximum may reach $500,000.
However, Michigan courts have allowed this cap to rise slightly every year. The most current cases set the maximum at $400,000, and in cases of serious or permanent injury, the court has awarded up to $730,000. If a patient has questions about whether or not they will be able to claim noneconomic damages in their medical malpractice claim, they should consult a Michigan medical malpractice attorney.
Filing a Michigan Medical Malpractice Claim
In Michigan, the first step in filing a claim for medical malpractice is to send the defendants a notice of intent to file. This must be done at least 182 days prior to filing the claim in court, and must contain details about how the medical professional breached the standard of care, as well as a description of the applicable standard of care for that professional. This means that an expert knowledge of medical malpractice law will be necessary in order to ensure that the claim is sufficient and will hold up when it is later filed in court. Improper drafting of the claim could result in a dismissal of the entire case, meaning a total loss of recovery for the injured patient. It is also important to note that the medical professional will have a team of well-prepared and knowledgeable defense attorneys to protect them, and that any weakness in the patient’s claim will be exploited and attacked. For these reasons, it is extremely important that a patient enlist the help of an experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney to even the playing field and ensure that they will receive the highest recovery possible for the claim.
Michigan Medical Malpractice Laws
- Revised Judicature Act of 1961: Provisions Concerning Specific Actions: Actions for Malpractice: Chapter 600, Act 236, Chapter 29, §600.2912.
- Revised Judicature Act of 1961: Limitation of Actions: Injuries to Person or Property: Chapter 600, Act 236, Chapter 58, §600.5805.
- Revised Judicature Act of 1961: General Provisions: Limitations on Damages: Chapter 600, Act 236, Chapter 14, §600.1483.
- Revised Judicature Act of 1961: Provisions Concerning Specific Actions: Action Alleging Medical Malpractice (Procedure): Chapter 600, Act 236, Chapter 29, §600.2912b.