Have you or a loved one been injured or suffered death as a result of medical negligence?
Your hospital, doctor, nurse, psychiatrist, chiropractor, or podiatrist is not exempt from the law. When a health care provider makes a mistake, the ramifications can be catastrophic for patients and their families. Often, these mistakes were entirely preventable, but due to the negligence and carelessness of those who were supposed to be treating you, you are forced to suffer.
The good news is that if you or a loved one has suffered harm due to the negligence of a medical professional, you can often sue for compensation.
Read on to learn more about medical malpractice laws in Michigan or contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient suffers harm due to a health care provider’s inattentiveness or failure to follow the applicable standard of care.
Under law, standard of care in healthcare is generally defined as the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care professional, with a similar educational and training background, and in the same medical community, would have provided under the same circumstances.
When that standard is not met and a patient suffers because of it, the patient can bring a medical malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice is not uncommon in the United States today. In fact, according to John Hopkins University, it was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2016. Although many medical malpractice cases occur in the operating room, these cases can happen at virtually any stage of medical care.
Common examples of medical malpractice include:
Pharmacists, dentists, oral surgeons, anesthesiologists, obstetricians, nurses, psychiatrists, and other types of medical professionals can be found liable for malpractice in their respective fields, but so can the institutions they work for like hospitals and clinics.
Unfortunately, Michigan has a large share of medical malpractice. According to data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), between 2016 and 2022, there were 233,510 reported cases of medical malpractice in Michigan. The majority of these cases involved medical physicians (MDs or DOs).
Although medical malpractice isn’t uncommon, it can still be challenging to bring forward a viable case. According to Michigan law, four elements must be proven to have a viable medical malpractice case:
Do you still have questions about medical malpractice? Read our FAQ below for more information.
As stated earlier, there are many examples of medical malpractice that may justify bringing a lawsuit and seeking compensation. Generally speaking, most medical malpractice cases will likely fall into one of the following three categories:
1. Failure to properly diagnose a medical condition: There are serious consequences when a condition goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. In many cases, like cancer, prompt and accurate diagnosis can save lives. If a health care provider misses an obvious diagnosis or does not timely diagnose a condition that other providers are later able to pinpoint, this could be the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
2. Failure to warn the patient of known risks: When a health care provider has recommended a certain treatment or surgery for a patient, they must also tell that patient of all known risks associated with the treatment or surgery. If a provider fails to do this and a patient suffers such harm due to the treatment or surgery, the provider can be liable because the patient may well have declined the procedure or care had they been informed of the potential risks ahead of time.
3. Improper or poor treatment: There are two possible scenarios here. First, a medical professional may deliver the proper treatment but may do so in a poor or negligent way (that fails to meet the requisite standard of care). Next, a medical professional may not deliver the proper treatment, instead choosing to ignore a serious issue altogether or to follow a course of action that no medical professional operating within the requisite standard of care would choose.
Yes, you can sue a hospital, medical office, or individual health care provider for medical negligence. Doing so, however, can be a significant undertaking. There are complicated and confusing procedural steps that must be followed to move forward with a medical malpractice case. Having experienced and trusted attorneys on your side is crucial.
In Michigan, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of the negligent medical service (your diagnosis, surgery, or treatment, etc.) from which to file your medical malpractice claim. However, if a child has not reached their eighth birthday as of the date of the malpractice, then any medical malpractice claim must be commenced within two years after the date of the incident OR commenced on or before or the child’s tenth birthday, which is later. MCL 600.5851(7).
The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better. Gathering documents, receipts, lab reports, and other data takes time, and all of this legwork will be required in order to prepare your case. Moreover, eyewitness accounts may be essential to your case, but the longer you wait to contact individuals regarding their recollections, the more likely it is that their memories will fade or they will be unavailable.
Additionally, if you wait too long to contact legal counsel, you may unintentionally miss the deadline for filing and you will be unable to file your lawsuit, no matter how clear the liability is.
You can only file a medical malpractice claim on behalf of someone other than yourself in the circumstances of wrongful death (where the injured party has died), an incapacitated plaintiff, a minor plaintiff, or a class action.
If medical malpractice liability is found, the patient or their family may recover compensation for their injuries (including wrongful death), including economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages refers to losses with tangible monetary values (medical expenses, loss of income, etc.), while non-economic damages do not have a set monetary value and are typically awarded for pain and suffering and emotional distress.
The total recoverable amount varies significantly based on the facts of the case. If you want to better understand what you may potentially recover, please schedule a free case evaluation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys.
There are limits to how much a medical malpractice plaintiff can recover in non-economic damages. If the plaintiff can prove that one or more defendants involved in the case were medically negligent, there can be a non-economic damage award of up to $280,000. If the negligence of one or more defendants involved resulted in a death or permanent loss or damage of a vital organ or bodily function, the non-economic damage cap is increased to $500,000.
First, a comprehensive case evaluation is performed by an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
The attorney reviews all documents provided by the plaintiff, including medical records, eyewitness reports, and any background information regarding the health care practitioner in question. The attorney also contacts medical experts to establish the relevant standard of care and determines if there has been a breach thereof. If the attorney determines that the case is viable, the attorney will file a Notice of Intent to File Claim (NOI).
Following the required NOI period, the attorney then files a medical malpractice complaint in the appropriate court, the defendant files an answer and the case then typically proceeds to “discovery,” where the parties take depositions (verbal statements sworn under oath) and otherwise have the opportunity to discover evidence in the case.
Following discovery, there are often dispositive motions filed by the defendants to limit or obtain dismissal of the case. If the case survives such motions, the case will then either settle or go to trial. Although many medical malpractice cases may end in a settlement, there is still a chance that a disagreement will eventually lead to the case moving to trial. This is why working with an attorney with trial experience in medical malpractice cases is very important.
There is no average length of time for this type of lawsuit, as these cases can vary in complexity. Investigating these types of cases can take months. Additionally, once a NOI is served on potentially liable parties, there is a six-month waiting period before a lawsuit can be filed. Once the lawsuit is filed, discovery and motion practice typically take many months to complete and add to the overall timeline.
Your attorney will better advise you of what medical records to ask for specifically, but as a general rule, you should ask for any and all medical records available that may have pertinence to the medical malpractice.
Look for an attorney that has these two important qualifications:
1. Do they know the specific medical malpractice laws?
2. Do they have medical malpractice trial experience?
Like many law firms, Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys work on contingency fee basis. In such an arrangement, a contingency fee agreement, our law firm takes no fee unless and until you obtain a financial recovery, whereupon the firm takes a percentage of the recovery (typically one-third) net of costs.
Yes. As previously mentioned, there’s no guarantee that a settlement will be reached. If and when your case moves to court, you will need an attorney with trial experience in medical malpractice cases.
Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys prosecutes all types of medical malpractice claims in Michigan. Whether your claim is against a surgeon, doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, midwife, or another medical or health care provider, we will investigate your case and help you understand how to move forward.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys.
Speak with one of our representatives, or complete the case assessment form below, so we can learn more about your situation.
Our team will thoroughly review your case, and provide more information on the strength of your case.
We will fight your case, and do everything we can to succeed, even if we need to take the case to trial, because that’s why we believe in Pure Law.
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