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The Basics of Michigan Medical Malpractice Law

If you've been injured while receiving treatment from a medical professional, you might have a medical malpractice claim on your hands. Whether you can file a medical malpractice claim will depend on the laws in your state. That is why, if you received medical treatment in Michigan, you should have a basic understanding of Michigan malpractice law before filing a lawsuit.

What Is Michigan Malpractice?

Laws governing medical malpractice in Michigan parallel medical malpractice laws across the country. The state defines medical malpractice as when a medical professional's actions constitute a breach, or violation, of the standard of care and this breach results in an injury.

The standard of care is defined as the generally accepted procedures and practices employed by medical professionals to treat patients suffering from a specific disorder or illness. The standard of care will vary depending on a number of factors, including the patient's age and medical background. For example, you wouldn't treat an otherwise healthy 40-year-old patient who suffers a heart attack the same as you would treat a 70-year-old heart attack victim who has a history of high cholesterol.

When you and your medical malpractice attorney take your medical malpractice claim to court, you will have to show that this breach of the standard of care directly caused your injuries. To do this, you will likely need to rely on the testimony of expert medical witnesses.

Michigan Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

Michigan medical malpractice law also establishes a time limit in which patients may file suit against the offending medical provider or entity. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations.

In Michigan, this limit is two years from the action that caused the injury. This means that if you were treated by a doctor in July 2010 and this treatment caused your injuries, you will have until July 2012 to file suit. However, sometimes medical injuries can take a while to detect. In such instances, the patient has up to six months after the injury is detected or should reasonably have been detected to file a lawsuit.

However, if you detect your injury more than six years after the original act that caused the injury, you will be barred from filing a claim. This is known as a statute of repose. There are exceptions to this statute, namely if the injury involves the reproductive system or if fraud is involved.

In addition, Michigan medical malpractice law states that a patient seeking to file a medical malpractice claim must inform the medical provider of his or her intention to sue at least 182 days before filing the claim.

These time limitations underscore the importance of hiring a Michigan medical malpractice lawyer and filing your medical malpractice case in a timely manner. Michigan courts will not be forgiving if you wait to file your claim until after the statute of limitations has expired.

Michigan Damage Caps

The compensation that an injured patient seeks when filing a lawsuit against a medical provider is known as damages. There are multiple types of damages, some of which Michigan malpractice law has put caps on to limit the amount that can be paid to a patient.

Compensation for things such as medical costs and lost wages are known as compensatory damages. Michigan has no cap on compensatory damages.

Compensation for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, are known as non-economic damages. Michigan has placed a cap on non-economic damages that change annually as the cost of living changes.

Michigan medical malpractice law currently does not permit the recovery of punitive damages. These are damages intended to punish the offending medical practitioner for excessively reckless behavior.

If you have any additional questions about medical malpractice in Michigan, you should consult a medical malpractice attorney.