How Long After My Injury Can I Sue? - Lee Steinberg Law Firm

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How Long After My Injury Can I Sue in Michigan?

types of personal injury

Key Points of This Article:

  • Statute of limitations are strict time frames to file a personal injury claim against another and to preserve the right for compensation and request a legal remedy from a Michigan court.
  • Michigan’s statute of limitations varies for personal injuries depending on the type of claim and may involve motor vehicle crashes, medical malpractice, landlord or government negligence, and assault and battery, and wrongful death. 
  • If you’ve been injured in a Michigan auto accident, you generally have three years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for the injuries you sustained.
  • Although it may seem like a generous amount of time to gather evidence and file a lawsuit, you should act quickly to protect your rights and consult a Michigan personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Michigan Lawmakers Have Set Time Limits for Filing These Six Common Types of Personal Injury Claims

Following a car accident, slip and fall, dog bite, or medical malpractice event, there is a certain amount of time an injured person has before a lawsuit must be filed, and their right for compensation preserved. This period is called a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a rule to prevent individuals and companies from suing after too long of a period has passed. Also, the more time that goes by, accident evidence may become intangible and stale, and witnesses forget essential facts or become unreachable to provide testimony.

Every state follows its own statute of limitations, and rules do differ. Michigan lawmakers have instituted various statute of limitations under MCL 600.5805(2), which apply to different types of cases. Below is a list of the statute of limitations for six common kinds of Michigan personal injury cases and lawsuits:

#1 Injury, Pain and Suffering Resulting from a Crash: Under Michigan law, for a claim for injury, pain and suffering following a car, truck, or motorcycle crash, the plaintiff has three years from the date of the accident to recover damages. MCL 600.5805(2).When someone is killed in a car accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The statute of limitations is different for a Michigan personal injury protection (PIP) claim or no-fault claim. In this case, any outstanding no-fault benefits cannot be requested if made more than one year after the date of the accident, unless written notice of the injury has been provided within one year to the car insurance company, or the car insurance company has previously made a payment of PIP benefits for the injury. However, under the revised Michigan no-fault law, this one-year statute of limitations is tolled until the insurance company formally denies the claim. MCL 500.3145(3).

#2 Slip-and-Fall Accident Injury: Following a slip-and-fall incident, the injured person has three years from the date of the event to file a lawsuit. If filed within that time, the statute of limitations is tolled, and the injured person has preserved his or her right to move forward for a claim for compensation. MCL 600.5805(2). For a building owner to be held liable for his negligence, he must have actual or constructive notice of the danger. 

#3 Suing a Landlord for Personal Injury: If a landlord is negligent in keeping a rental in reasonable repair, and a person becomes injured, they will have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against the landlord and the property management company. Negligence can come in the form of broken stairs or railings, failure to remove ice and snow on stairs or sidewalks, defective porches, security issues, or other types of dangerous conditions. Like any other Michigan case involving negligence, the tenant must prove the landlord failed to maintain the building, and this negligence caused the tenant’s injuries.

#4 Medical Malpractice or Medical Negligence Claim: Medical malpractice is a form of negligence involving a medical professional. Under Michigan law, a victim of medical malpractice has two years from the date of misconduct to file a lawsuit and protect his or her right to compensation.  MCL 5805(8).

With medical malpractice, the discovery rule has an effect in which the plaintiff has an additional six months after the discovery or should have discovered the existence of a medical malpractice claim. However, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the plaintiff neither discovered nor should have discovered the existence of a medical malpractice claim before the expiration of the two years. MCL 600.5838(2).

#5 Personal Injury Caused by Government Municipality Negligence: If injured due to a defective or dangerous roadway, highway, or sidewalk, that is the responsibility of a governmental municipality, such as the city, county, or state, then typically you have two years to file a lawsuit. MCL 691.1411(2). Governmental agencies who fail to repair and maintain a public building under their control and open to the public are also covered under the 2-year statute of limitations period. 

The same two-year time limit applies to government-owned vehicles under the “motor vehicle exception” to governmental immunity. For example, if a police officer is distracted while driving, runs a red light and is found at-fault for causing a crash, the regulatory agency the officer works for is responsible for paying those damages.

#6. Assault and Battery: Under Michigan law, the statute of limitations for most assault and battery cases is two years from the date of the act. MCL 600.5805(3). However, the statute of limitations is five years for assault or battery brought by a person who has been assaulted or battered by his or her spouse or former spouse. MCL 600.5805(4). The statute of limitations is also five years for assault and battery brought by a person in a dating relationship. MCL 600.5805(5). The statute of limitations is ten years for criminal sexual conduct. MCL 600.5805(6).

As you have read, there are many different rules which apply to statute of limitations in Michigan. And in several cases, there can also be time limits in providing notice to a defendant, and failure to do so can jeopardize the entire claim. These extra complications make it worth your time to speak to a personal injury lawyer to help validate your claim under Michigan law. During this time, you should refrain from speaking with any investigators or insurance adjusters who represent the interests of those responsible for causing the accident or your injuries.

If Worried About Statute of Limitations, Speak with an Experienced Michigan Personal Injury Attorney Today

The personal injury attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. can answer any questions about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Michigan. Please contact our office at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). The call is free, and there is no fee until we win your case.

Watch: Common Types of Medical Malpractice