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Based on the 2022 data provided by the National Practitioner Data Bank, the state of Michigan recorded a total of 325 medical malpractice cases, a 15.65% increase from the previous year. 

As of June 2023, NPDB has received 126 reports of medical malpractice cases. NPDB also reported that 26% of medical malpractice payments from 2012-2022 came from non-physicians like chiropractors, social workers, and technicians. 

Medical malpractice claims the lives of thousands of Americans annually, and it remains one of the most common causes of death. In addition to fatality, it also results in a range of temporary to permanent disabilities. 

When a medical professional deviates from the standards of care that a logical and reasonable healthcare provider would give in the same situation, it can be regarded as medical malpractice. 

Cases of medical malpractice can happen at any given time, such as during a simple routine medical examination, treatment, or follow-up care. 

It is challenging to determine the exact rate of medical malpractice occurrence as some patients fail to report their situation to the proper line of authorities.

The next topics will discuss more information about medical malpractice in Michigan, including the statutes of limitations, the costs associated, and who can be held responsible for this type of legal case. 

What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice in Michigan?

A medical provider in Michigan must be proven to have violated the basic standards of care to be held accountable for malpractice. 

A plaintiff must have a legitimate basis or just cause to proceed with their claim. This is why an expert medical testimony should be attached to their complaint. 

There are a lot of examples of medical malpractice, and they include errors in medication and anesthesia administration, medical diagnosis, birth injuries, and early hospital discharge. 

Liability, however, does not always follow a negative result. A medical provider might not be responsible if a colleague made the same mistake. 

Legal professionals and medical experts have to carefully evaluate to identify if there has been a deviation from the standards of care.

Since an evaluation will be made on whether there has been a deviation from the standards of care, it is important to be aware of whether medical negligence differs from medical malpractice

The factors distinguishing medical malpractice from negligence hinge on the conduct of the healthcare provider and the patient-physician relationship. 

While negligence may not require a professional relationship or medical knowledge,  when it comes to malpractice, it involves complicated medical decisions in an ongoing medical situation. 

Additionally, unlicensed individuals are mostly linked to negligence, while licensed healthcare professionals are implicated in medical malpractice lawsuits. 

Who Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice in Michigan?

Individuals in Michigan who suffered injuries or harm from medical malpractice have the right to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party. 

However, in some legal systems, the plaintiff should have a “standing,” which means that they should be able to prove that the medical professional had a direct cause that resulted in their injury for them to file a lawsuit. 

If a patient dies, their next of kin can file a medical malpractice lawsuit on their behalf. 

In Michigan, it is not only doctors who can be sued by patients due to medical malpractice. Psychiatrists, pharmacists, anesthesiologists, oral surgeons, obstetricians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can also be liable. 

In some instances, you can file a lawsuit against multiple licensed medical professionals. Additionally, medical institutions like hospitals and clinics can also be sued. 


Many healthcare professionals in Michigan are considered government employees because they work for state-run colleges or hospitals. In this case, having the said job status would allow them legal immunity. 

The legislature has established that the immunity will not apply to government workers who deliver medical care, except for those hired by the Department of Community Health or the Department of Corrections to be fair to everyone in the healthcare industry. 

Individuals who are suspected of committing medical malpractice are urged to consult with a legal professional right away, considering the complexity of the matter, which involves varying procedures, deadlines, and statutes of limitations. 

Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Requirements

The most common liability limits acquired in Michigan by medical professionals are set at $200,000 per claim with a $600,000 yearly cap. As always, they are encouraged to get higher liability limits for better coverage.

Incidents of sexual misbehavior, criminal activity, and any purposeful wrongdoing by a healthcare professional are not covered by this insurance. 

However, whenever they encounter malpractice claims, they can rely on their insurance carrier to represent them, and insurers usually throw in useful additional perks like risk management training.

Medical facilities, on the other hand, also carry some type of protection, which is what they call Hospital Professional Liability insurance. Larger hospitals and their counterparts are starting to self-insure against liability risks. Usually, this self-insurance already covers their doctors and other employees.

To protect their financial security and career reputation, doctors in Michigan are urged to carry medical malpractice insurance, given the unavoidable threat of lawsuits that arise from patient care.

What Is the Statute of Limitations in Michigan for Medical Malpractice Cases?

The statute of limitations establishes a window on how much time a plaintiff has to file their claim. It works the same for victims of medical malpractice against healthcare organizations. 

Going over the deadline may entitle the defendant to file a motion to dismiss the case, which can be granted by the court.

In Michigan, there is a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the medical error and six months from the discovery to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the recognition happens after the injury, a later date will be applied. 

Michigan also enforces a six-year statute of repose, which prevents plaintiffs from filing a claim after the time frame has passed. 

The state, however, is not always determined by the book. With all the statute of limitations that plaintiffs have to keep in mind, they also provide some exceptions. 

One such exception is if the victim has suffered irreversible paralysis, loss of reproductive capability, or cognitive damage resulting from the medical injury, and the other reason is when the defendant has deliberately covered up or concealed the negligent act from the victim.

What Do You Need to Prove in a Michigan Medical Malpractice Case?

In Michigan, it is not enough to show that a patient experienced a negative outcome or that there has been a medical error. To successfully establish a medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff should be able to establish the essential elements, such as:

  • An established patient-doctor relationship or any other connection relating to healthcare. 

  • Poor medical care or diagnostic oversight by the professional.

  • Negligence causes injury or death to the patient.

  • Experiencing quantifiable economic and non-economic damages resulting from medical malpractice.

An individual cannot file a medical malpractice claim just because the doctor made a mistake that did not cause harm to the patient or the patient was harmed, but not directly from the medical error. 

Medical organizations and practitioners strongly contest such allegations; it would greatly help if a patient had the essential legal and scientific evidence to be successful with their claims.

When it comes to scientific evidence, an expert witness is called upon to further show that there was negligence on the healthcare provider’s part. An expert witness should be qualified and be in the same area of expertise as the defendant physician. 

All cases of medical malpractice must be reviewed by an expert witness, and they must provide an Affidavit of Merit. It is a document signed by the expert witness stating that they have reviewed the plaintiff's case and that the defendant did not uphold the standard of care.

The state of Michigan also has an "I'm Sorry" law which was enacted in April 2021. This law shields medical professionals who offer an apology or sympathy. It prevents a healthcare provider’s compassionate gesture from being interpreted as a form of fault admission if a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed. 

It also keeps doctor and patient interactions from being used in court and allows open communication while medical intervention is in progress. 

As always, there are exceptions to the rules. The "I'm Sorry" law has restrictions and will not cover admission of fault or liability, which can still be admitted in court. The differentiation of admission and empathy in a medical setting is crucial to legal accountability. 

On the other hand, healthcare professionals are mandated to discuss possible issues that may arise from their errors, per the American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics

It is their responsibility to discuss all the details of the situation with the patient and confirm their understanding, even if their transparency may have legal implications.

How Much Can You Sue For Medical Malpractice in Michigan?

In Michigan and across the country, medical malpractice lawyers are prohibited from promising their clients a certain amount of compensation. 

The severity of injuries, the impact on their lives, and the jury verdicts can influence the settlement amount. 

Recoverable damages can also be reduced when the plaintiff exhibits contributory negligence. The quality of life before and after the injury will also be taken into consideration. 

Thus, no exact amount of compensation can be provided, but an estimate can be given. 

Types of Damages

Victims of medical malpractice in Michigan may ask for economic compensation for their expenses. This includes medical costs, lost income, property losses, rehabilitation services, and funeral costs. These expenses are easily quantifiable as they can be supported by documentation and receipts. 

On the other hand, non-economic damages are harder to calculate. They are less tangible or obvious but still cause significant psychological and emotional suffering, which is considered when discussing settlement and compensation.

The area of pain and suffering includes physical and psychological anguish experienced following an unfortunate medical event, which the law recognizes. 

Another important element is future medical expenses, which will account for projected health-related costs and emphasize healthcare planning.

Rehabilitation expenses are also acknowledged and may include a wide range of therapies or procedures needed for a complete recovery, both physical and emotional.  

There are also punitive damages, which are uncommon but are a severe form of punishment for negligence. It is usually awarded to discourage future acts of the same kind from medical professionals.

Additionally, Michigan has placed limitations or caps on economic damages based on verifiable proof: there is a lower cap of $537,900 and a higher ceiling of $960,500. In the case of subjective, non-economic damages, there are two restrictions. 

To be eligible to receive the upper cap, a plaintiff should meet the defined and legal requirements related to serious impairments or injuries and be able to provide supporting documents. 

Negligence System

In Michigan, medical malpractice cases will follow the modified comparative negligence rule. What this means is that if a patient is proven to be partially at fault, the amount of compensation they will receive will be reduced by the percentage of their responsibility. 

However, the patient forfeits their right to damages if they are more than 50% at fault.

Methods of Obtaining Compensation

There are times allotted to resolve conflicts in a medical malpractice case in Michigan. One is during case reviews where a settlement amount is proposed by the lawyers. Another one is through mediation, where an unbiased third party assists in resolving the conflicts. Settlement conferences are also available, wherein the court can participate in mediation or negotiation.

In the event the case is not settled through the alternative dispute resolution avenues mentioned above, the court will then schedule a trial, which gives both parties several months to prepare and may give them time to resolve the issue. 

At the end of the trial, the jury will deliberate based on the facts they heard in court and will conclude the case with their verdict.

How Much Does It Cost to Pursue a Medical Malpractice Case in Michigan?

Both hourly rates and contingency fees are offered by medical malpractice lawyers in Michigan. A fixed fee is charged by the lawyer for each hour they spend working on the case under an hourly arrangement.

For a contingency basis payment, a part of the compensation granted to the plaintiff, up to a maximum of one-third in Michigan, will be paid to the attorneys. It is encouraged to be upfront with lawyers when discussing payment arrangements.

For government fees associated with case filing, individuals can visit the Michigan Courts website for more detailed information.

Legal Resources for Medical Malpractice Victims in  Michigan

As more lawyers, medical practitioners, and institutions offer information online, the technology used nowadays can be helpful for a patient’s research. It can save time and effort and can provide quick answers to questions that might have been on their minds for so long. Below are some reliable online legal resources that may help. 

American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics

The American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics is an online resource that offers education not just to physicians and medical students, but to online readers who want to learn more about the standards of ethical conduct in the medical field. It also helps in promoting adherence to the standards that build patient-doctor trust. It also includes information on how to address challenging issues and situations faced by medical professionals. 

National Practitioner Data Bank

The National Practitioner Data Bank serves as a digital source that holds data on compensations made for medical malpractice as well as notable adverse actions across the country. While general data about the numbers is publicly accessible, details are kept private. Its main goal is to provide transparency by showing the number of medical malpractice cases reported throughout the country.

Michigan Legislature

The Michigan Legislature is a website created by the combined efforts of the Legislative Service Bureau, the Michigan House of Representatives, the Michigan Legislative Council, the Michigan Senate, and the Library of Michigan. Its purpose is to provide details of active legislation of the state. It also helps the residents and other interested parties get accurate legislative details any time of the day through online access.

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