Michigan Medical Malpractice
Strengths and Weaknesses in Michigan’s Health Care Systems
In 2022, Michigan ranked in the top 20 US states on several measures of health, according to
America’s Health Rankings. 4 Strengths of Michigan’s health care systems include:
- Non-smoking regulation (1st),
- COVID-19 and flu vaccination rates (9th),
- Preventive clinical services (13th), and
- Access to clinical care (15th).
Michigan also demonstrated weaknesses in its care systems. Weaknesses that increase the
risk of medical malpractice may include:
- Frequent mental distress among patients, especially older patients (50th),
- Preventable hospitalizations (45th),
- Inadequate home health care staff (29th), and
- Poor nursing home quality (26th).
Settlement for anesthesiology malpractice resulting in hypoxic brain injury
Work remains to be done in Michigan clinics and hospitals to protect patients from harm caused by medical negligence.
Settlement on behalf of a child for treatment delays
Medication errors are another common type of medical negligence
Medication errors happen more often than you may suspect. For example:
- 100,000 reports enter the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) system each year,
reporting medication errors.
- 41 percent of Americans report either experiencing a medication error or knowing a
family member or friend who has experienced one.
- 7 million patients experience medication errors each year.
- 10 percent of hospital patients experience at least one medication error.
- 20 percent of medication doses given in hospitals may contain a medication error.
- 1.5 percent of pharmacies commit dispensing errors.
- 530,000 patients are injured in outpatient clinics yearly due to medication errors.
Researchers suspect that medication errors are underreported. The actual rate of medication
errors may be far higher than the rate of patient injury or hospital reporting suggests.
Patients report experiencing medication errors every year
20 percent of medication doses given in hospitals may contain a medication error.
Michigan law divides damages up into two categories: economic and non-economic.
- Economic damages:
Those damages that can readily have a dollar amount assigned to them are considered economic damages. These include past and future medical expenses, lost wages and decreased earning capacity, care giving expenses, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
- Non-economic damages:
Medical mistakes frequently result in physical pain and suffering and emotional trauma. These damages - while potentially very detrimental to a patient's way of life - are difficult to quantify in terms of dollars and cents. Thus, these damages are referred to as non-economic damages.
In Michigan, there is no maximum on economic damages.
In Michigan, there is no limit on the amount of economic damages you can recover in a medical malpractice case. In 1994, Michigan enacted a $280,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims. For catastrophic and disabling injuries, the cap was set at $500,000. This cap adjusts for inflation annually. In 2022, the Michigan Department of Treasury adjusted the lower cap to $497,000 and the upper cap to $887,500. The upper cap applies to the following situations:
- The medical negligence renders the patient a hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic resulting in a total permanent functional loss of one or more limbs caused by injury to the brain or spinal cord;
- The medical negligence impaired a patient's cognitive capacity rendering him or her incapable of making independent, responsible life decisions and permanently incapable of independently performing the activities of normal, daily living; or,
- The medical negligence resulted in permanent loss of or damage to a reproductive organ resulting in the patient's inability to procreate.
of birth injury lawsuits involve “high severity” injuries, causing long-term harm to the child
Medical Negligence Resulting in Death
A meta-analysis of patient input studies performed by Yale School of Medicine and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine estimates the number of preventable deaths due to medical negligence at roughly 22,000 a year. That is fewer deaths than often cited in medical negligence statistics but still 22,000 too many.
The costs of medication errors alone are profound. In the US:
- 7,000 to 9,000 deaths occur each year due to medication errors, making these errors the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.
- 1.3 million injuries occur each year due to medication errors.
Worldwide, medication errors account for nearly one percent of all money spent on healthcare.
Over 7 million patients are affected by medication errors each year.
- The factual basis for the provider’s defense to the claim,
- The standard of practice or care that applies to the claim, in the provider’s opinion,
- A description of how the provider complied with that standard,
- An explanation of how the provider’s actions were not the proximate or foreseeable cause of the claimant’s injuries.
- The standard of practice or care that applies to the claim,
- A statement of the health professional’s opinion that the standard of care was breached,
- A description of the actions that should have been taken or avoided to meet the standard of care,
- An explanation describing how the failure to meet the standard of care was the proximate cause of the claimant’s injuries.
The health professional who signs the affidavit must meet Michigan’s requirements for expert witnesses in medical malpractice claims.
In many ways, Michigan's experience with medical malpractice parallels that of other US states.
Like many other states, Michigan caps non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims, tying those caps to inflation rates. Michigan also requires pre-lawsuit notices and other steps, which are also similar to those in other states. Michigan's most common allegations in medical malpractice claims are tied to diagnosis errors and its highest payments in these claims tend to be linked to birth injuries - two trends that repeat across the nation.
Contact an experienced Michigan medical malpractice injury law firm
To learn more, and to speak with an attorney about your situation today, call 866-826-1793 for immediate assistance.
Medical errors are surprisingly common. Medical malpractice law can be complex. If you or someone you love has been injured during medical care and you suspect negligence is to blame, speak to an experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney at once. The team at Sommers Schwartz, PC is dedicated to representing our clients with experience in handling medical malpractice claims. Contact us today to learn more.