An Overview of Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

The Extent of the Medical Malpractice Problem

Living in this modern age provides the very best medical care the world has ever seen.  However, as the quality and accessibility of health care has greatly increased, the errors leading to injury and even death have led to shocking statistics.

Muskegon Personal Injury AttorneyIn a study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States.  It is estimated that close to 100,000 people die every year due to errors in hospitals.  According to a report by the National Institute of Health (NIH), 7,000 people a year die from medication errors alone.  This is shocking when you realize that only around 6,000 die from workplace injuries during the same time.

Death is not the only result of medical malpractice or medical negligence.  Life long and short term disabilities resulting from adverse events within the medical system were significantly tied to negligence in this recent study.

When the very people you trust to take care of you in your time of need let you down, you need a competent medical malpractice attorney to help guide you through the process of recovering your rightful compensation.

Avoid the Pain of Suffering Without Compensation

Anytime you need a lawyer, you can bet that the other side has lawyers working hard to defeat your case.  When it comes to the medical industry they have teams of lawyers, expert witnesses, and lots of money to defend themselves.  Add to all of this that while their defense trivializes and even attacks you and your injuries attempting to protect their records and pocketbooks, you have a maze of complex laws and regulations to navigate if your case is to be successful.

This is not something you can or should go through alone.  

Time is of the Essence

While minors have slightly different rules depending on their age, adults have two years from the date of injury in most cases to begin their lawsuit.  Typically, it is irrelevant when you discover the injuries.  In certain circumstances you may have six months from discovering the injury, but two years from the date of injury is normal.  You don’t know unless you speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect you have been injured.

Muskegon Medical Malpractice AttorneyWhat makes the need to act quickly more crucial is that filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in the State of Michigan requires sending the defendant a Notice of Intent to Sue detailing the summary of injuries claimed to have been received.  You then must wait 182 days after that to file a lawsuit with a court.

When you file your medical malpractice lawsuit you must have an affidavit from a health care provider demonstrating that the care you received fell below what is commonly accepted as the standard of care.  This satisfies the initial requirements of the state for expert testimony.  

It should be noted that depending on the type and extent of your injuries, you may require additional experts to testify on your behalf to prove the details of your case.  In addition to this, the defendant will have at least 182 days to assemble their own experts to counter your case before it ever goes to court.

If you suspect you have been injured by anyone in the medical industry, you must contact a competent medical malpractice attorney immediately.  

Medical Malpractice or Medical Negligence?

While there is a definitive difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence, it is often hard to determine where a situation lies.  Every injury results from such a unique set of circumstances that it really requires someone experienced in these matters to determine how best to approach fighting for compensation.  Choosing the correct path heavily influences the success of the outcome.  

Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence both require you to prove that your injuries were caused by the defendant and that they had a duty to act reasonably to avoid your injury.  Medical Malpractice requires you to prove what a reasonable care provider would have done differently in your circumstance.  

The distinction between the two types of lawsuits goes further in that you have to determine the nature of the professional relationship between you and the care provider.  There are two questions that will help determine whether you have a medical malpractice or medical negligence claim.

  1. Does the claim pertain to an action that occurred within the course of a professional relationship?
  2. Does the claim raise questions of medical judgement beyond the realm of common knowledge and experience?

Answering “Yes” to these questions typically will result in a medical malpractice lawsuit.  However, answering “No” to one or both of the questions leans more towards a medical negligence lawsuit.  Usually, if the person responsible for your injuries is a state licensed care provider, you have a medical malpractice situation.  If they are not a state licensed care provider, it is likely medical negligence. 

A Wide Range of Medical Malpractice Injuries

The complex nature of today’s medical industry results in a multitude of varying injuries.  It is important to discuss and disclose everything pertaining to your injury with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in order to fully understand the extent of your injuries.  Injuries resulting from medical malpractice could include but not be limited to:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Improper diagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Birth injuries
  • Anesthesia complications
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to warn patients of risks

No matter what your injuries are you must prove there was a doctor-patient relationship, that the doctor was negligent, that the negligence directly resulted in your injuries, and that the injury led to specific damages.

Possible Compensation

Your injuries most likely have already cost you time, pain, and money.  In most instances, these injuries will continue to result in lost wages, and lower quality of life, among many other undue burdens.

In a medical malpractice lawsuit you can be awarded compensation for additional treatments that were required because of the injuries sustained or the result of a worsening condition.  Future costs for related health care and lost wages can be compensated as well. This covers costs incurred prior to and following the lawsuit.

With any injury, not all of the detrimental impacts will be financial.  Intangible damages like your pain and suffering are taken into account. Loss of your previous quality of life in many ways can hurt more than the financial losses that result.  

It should be noted that non-economic damages cannot exceed $445,500.  In circumstances resulting in catastrophic injury or death this may be increased to $795,500.

Don’t Wait – Act Now

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or someone you love suspects that they have been injured as a result of the negligence of a medical professional, you need to contact Shafer Swartz PLC immediately.  The complexity of Michigan law in these circumstances is such that you cannot wait to find out where your case stands and to find out what possible compensation it may warrant. Call us now at (231) 722-2444 to schedule a free consultation.