What are the Michigan Medical Malpractice Damage Caps?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Michigan, you might be wondering what legal rights you have. You could be entitled to damages if you suffered a personal injury or wrongful death of a loved one. However, Michigan does have a cap on non-economic damages. Here’s what this means.
Cap on Non-economic Damages
As of January 30 2020 the State of Michigan Department of Treasury announced the latest limitations on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims. The upper cap was adjusted to a limit of $842,500, and the lower cap was adjusted to a limit of $471,800. In previous years there was a default $250,000 cap.
When filing for damages in medical malpractice cases, what you’re awarded will be capped based on your injury and whether damages are economic or non-economic.
The law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help with cases involving malpractice by medical professionals to ensure you have the best chance being awarded the maximum caps under Michigan state law.
Medical Malpractice Laws in Michigan
There are a few criteria you must meet to move forward with your medical malpractice case. To help you meet the criteria for your hospital negligence case, you should hire an experienced malpractice lawyer who can help compile the key evidence and facts of your case, including medical documentation and records.
Your medical attorney will then bring your case before a team of doctors, nurses and lawyers, who will assess whether your case meets the minimum standards for medical malpractice. They will judge whether:
- Your injury is from a violation of the law’s standards of care
- Your medical condition was caused by a negligent act
- Your injury has resulted in economic and/or non-economic damages
Under Michigan law, the statute of limitations runs out on most medical malpractice cases within two years of the injury, so it’s important to begin building your case with lawyers specializing in medical malpractice as soon as you discover your injury.
However, there are some instances where there is a delay in finding the source of the injury, and the patient has made several documented attempts to discover the source of their symptoms or health issues.
In these cases, also known as the law of discovery, some judges may allow an exception to the two-year statute of limitations. The law of discovery, however, is also limited by a six-year-statute of limitations, or up to the age of 15 for a child.
Seeking Total Damages
There are two kinds of damages you can seek for medical malpractice in Michigan: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are the real-number costs of your injury that can be quantified and documented. These include lost wages, transportation costs, medical bills, in-home, and facility-therapy costs, care costs, and other financial burdens that are a direct result of your injury.
In Michigan, there are no caps to the amount of economic damages you can seek, although you will likely be limited to the actual number amount of the damages you have suffered. You will probably not receive more than the amount you can provide documentation for.
Non-economic damages account for the emotional, physical, and mental pain and suffering a victim endures as a result of their medical malpractice injury. These damages are not easily quantifiable, but it is clear that the victim and their family’s life has been altered by the effects of the injury.
The cap limit for non-economic damages is changed every year. For the majority of medical malpractice cases, the total damages a medical malpractice victim can seek is $471,800, which has been lowered from $489,000.
For more severe cases, the limit on the amount for damages awards is $842,500, which has increased $832,000. The most severe cases tend to include errors that cause:
- Total or partial paralysis
- Cognitive impairment
- Reproductive organ damage
An alternative to pursuing economic or non-economic damages, is to file for punitive damages, which aim to punish a doctor or nurse who is guilty of medical malpractice.
When pursuing punitive damages, a doctor or nurse would have to compensate a patient directly, usually through an insurer. However, punitive damages are rare in medical malpractice cases because for a court to look beyond compensation and pursue punitive damages, the doctor or nurse must have done something deplorable.
Many medical malpractice reform efforts have attempted to cap punitive damages or get rid of them entirely. Even in states where there are no limits on punitive damages, judges have discretion over them and can cap them.
Choose Cochran, Kroll, & Associates P.C. for Your Medical Malpractice Case
If you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice, including emergency room errors, our senior partner, Eileen Kroll can help you build your case. Eileen is a uniquely-qualified hospital negligence lawyer because she is also a registered nurse. This knowledge of both Michigan law and medical care allows Eileen to assess your case in a way that can help you receive the most compensation possible.
Whether your case involves the wrongful death of a loved one or a personal injury suffered as a result of hospital negligence, we can help you secure damages for the distress and pain caused that affects your quality of life. To start medical malpractice proceedings, call 866-MICH-LAW for a free consultation. Our law firm works on a contingency basis and never charges a legal fee unless we win your case.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.