Michigan may be home to The Mighty Mac, but your visit on Labor Day landed you in the emergency room. Or maybe your trip to the Water Winter Wonderland was a complete delight—until a slip and fall left you in chronic pain. Whether you live, work, or play in the Wolverine State, the information below is intended to assist you in determining whether you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages in Michigan.
The table and accompanying explanations below detail important aspects of pain and suffering damages in Michigan.
Statute of Limitations
• 3 years for most accidental injuries (M.C.L.A. § 600.5805)
• 2 years for malpractice, including medical and engineering (M.C.L.A. § 600.5805(6))
• 2 years for intentional injuries (M.C.L.A. § 600.5805(2)) except for:
• 5 years for domestic abuse (M.C.L.A. § 600.5805(3))
Limits on Damages
• As of 2016, $438,800 limit on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice and product liability, except in more serious cases where the limit is $783,500—limits adjusted annually based on the CPI (M.C.L.A. § 600.1483)
• No pain and suffering for workers' compensation (Workers' Comp Overview)
• No Fault Insurance minimums must first be exceeded in car accident claims (M.C.L.A. § 500.3135)
• 51% Comparative Negligence in car accidents (M.C.L.A. § 500.3135(b))
Whether you were injured in a car accident, you slipped and fell, a not-so-neighborly pet bit you, or a loved one died due to the negligence or misconduct of another, you may be entitled to recover damages.
Economic losses account for the direct, specific costs of your injuries, such as vehicle repair or replacement costs and hospital bills. In contrast, noneconomic losses are the more abstract costs of your injuries. In Michigan, noneconomic losses include:
You have three years to file a claim for most injuries. This is known as a statute of limitations. However, domestic abuse survivors have five years to file a claim. Victims of other types of injuries which were intentionally inflicted, such as battery, have only two years to file a claim. The two year deadline applies to malpractice as well, whether it was medical malpractice or engineering malpractice (more commonly referred to as "construction defect").
51% Bar Rule and Other Bars to Recovery
Michigan is one of the few states which uses a "no fault" system for car accident injuries. Under no fault systems, your injuries must exceed certain minimums before you can file a claim against another driver.
If your injuries exceed those minimums, then you still may be barred from recovery if you were more than 50% at fault for the accident. That is because Michigan follows the 51% Bar Rule, named because it bars parties who are 51% or more at fault from recovering any damages for their injuries. The 51% Bar Rule is a form of "modified comparative negligence".
Finally, as of 2016, pain and suffering damages in most medical malpractice and most product liability cases is limited to $438,800. In more serious cases, the limit is increased to $783,500. The cap is adjusted each year based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Get a Free Claim Review from a Michigan Attorney
If reading about the CPI leaves you thinking you need a CPA, or if navigating statutes of limitations leaves you stressed, help is on the way. An attorney experienced with navigating the Michigan caps on non-economic damages in addition to modified comparative negligence rules can review your claim for free.
Contact a qualified attorney.