Medical malpractice is a term used to describe the failure of a medical professional to meet a patient’s standard of care in any manner resulting in harm to the patient. Thousands of people trust their medical providers to safely and effectively treat their illnesses and injuries, and while most medical professionals do their utmost to provide appropriate care, some do not.
If you believe you or someone you love suffered harm from medical malpractice, there may be grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against the party that caused your damages. A medical malpractice suit technically falls under the purview of personal injury law, but there are special procedural rules that apply to medical malpractice claims that you must understand if you hope to succeed with your case.
The first procedural rule you must acknowledge when it comes to filing a medical malpractice claim in Michigan is the statute of limitations or the time limit in which you must file your claim. Generally, there is a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in the state. This means that a plaintiff must file their claim within two years of the date their injury occurred, or they lose the right to seek compensation from the defendant.
Some variables can influence the statute of limitations for your case. For example, if any issue prevents you from accurately determining the cause of your injury, this may toll or delay the statute of limitations until you are able to discover the exact cause of the injury you sustained. Unfortunately, it is relatively common for doctors and other health care professionals who knowingly breach their professional duties of care to their patients to take steps to conceal their actions. It is also possible for administrative issues with a hospital or other medical treatment center to interfere with the victim’s ability to ascertain the cause of their injury.
State law not only requires the medical malpractice victim to meet the statute of limitations for their case but also to fulfill two additional preliminary steps. First, the plaintiff must secure an affidavit of merit from an appropriately qualified medical professional. This individual must hold equivalent medical board certifications and experience to the defendant, and their affidavit should be a detailed explanation of how the defendant breached the standard of care the plaintiff required. Second, the plaintiff and their attorney must file a Notice of Intent to File Suit against the defendant at least 182 days before actually filing their civil claim.
Ultimately, the statute of limitation is a vital initial consideration for anyone who intends to file a medical malpractice claim. However, this is just one of the procedural steps you must complete to proceed with your claim. It’s crucial to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as you can to maximize your results and reach a positive outcome in the most efficient manner possible.
The standard two-year statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim may be waived if the patient cannot discover the harm done by the defendant within this timeframe. The statute of limitations could shift to six months from the date of discovery in this case. It’s also possible for the statute of limitations to delay if the defendant fraudulently concealed their malpractice in any way.
It is always advisable to start your proceedings as soon as possible after suffering any type of medical malpractice. The sooner you consult an attorney, the more likely you are to succeed with your claim. Additionally, you must meet specific procedural requirements to hold the defendant accountable, such as securing an affidavit of merit and submitting a Notice of Intent to File Suit at least 182 days prior to the actual filing of your claim. After determining that you were harmed by any type of medical malpractice, consult an attorney as soon as possible to start the claim filing process.
Technically, no, you have the right to try and file your case without hiring an attorney. However, you face several risks in doing so. You could make mistakes in the early stages of your case, have difficulty finding an appropriately qualified medical professional to sign your affidavit of merit, or unintentionally settle for less than you legally deserve. Having reliable legal counsel makes every aspect of your case easier to manage and significantly improves your chances of success.
There are some limitations concerning how much compensation you could potentially win for a medical malpractice claim. Generally, the plaintiff of a medical malpractice suit can seek full compensation for their economic damages. These can include the cost of any corrective medical care they require and lost income for the time they cannot work because of their injury. State law also lets the plaintiff seek pain and suffering compensation from the defendant, but pain and suffering damages are capped under state law.
The medical professional responsible for your injury faces not only liability for the civil damages you suffered from their malpractice but also professional consequences and maybe even criminal charges. They could lose their medical license and face heavy fines along with their liability for your damages. They could also face prosecution if they intentionally harmed you or if their actions exceeded the scope of typical negligence.
Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC, has the experience and resources necessary to provide the legal guidance you need for your medical malpractice case. If you are unsure whether you have grounds for a medical malpractice suit or if you do not know the right way to proceed with your claim, we can help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with our firm and learn more about the legal services we offer.
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Ann Arbor, MI 48103