Tort Law: Statute of Limitation

 Tort Law: Statute of LimitationIntroductionStatute of limitations refers to state or federal laws restricting the period within which the legal proceedings can be allowed (McMillen, 1996). Applicable to both criminal and civil actions, statutes of limitations are meant to prevent stale and fraudulent claims from being made upon losing all the evidence or when all the facts have become futile after some period of time due to death, witness disappearance or defective memory. In general, statute of limitation refers to some time limits or deadlines for claimants to submit lawsuits. In medical malpractice, statute of limitation applies to the time-length from the incident of injury to the last date when filing of lawsuits for medical malpractices can be done (McCullough, Campbell & Lane LLP, 2002). The statutes of limitations for medical malpractices vary among states and claims. However, the range limit is usually six months up to four years but in some states, these statutes may be sometimes delayed in cases involving injured infants until they attain a specific maturity age. This paper discusses the statutes of limitations as they apply to medical malpractices drawing examples from the states of Florida and Michigan.Statutes Of Limitation On Medical Malpractice In Florida and MichiganIn Florida, statutes of limitations for medical malpractices dictate that lawsuits have to be filed within a period of two years from the time when injuries occurred or were discovered (McMillen, 1996). The state laws for medical malpractices do not permit lawsuits to be filed after four years from the period the act which gave rise to injuries took place. However, in some exceptions, lawsuits for medical malpractices can be filed prior to production of clear evidence. While other states may postpone the time of filing lawsuits for an injured child until the child attains a specific age, the state of Florida does not provide for such postponements (McMillen, 1996). The Michigan statutes on medical malpractice cover malpractice action elements, merit affidavits and discoveries before filing lawsuits. In Michigan, filing of lawsuits on medical malpractice can be done within the first two years following the act (McCullough, Campbell & Lane LLP, 2002). At the same time, the lawsuit filing can be done within the first six months following the discovery by the claimant. This is similar to Florida. However, unlike with Florida statutes, the Michigan statutes of limitations on medical malpractice exclude the minors. This means that lawsuits can be filed even when the child has not attained a specific age (McCullough, Campbell & Lane LLP, 2002). In Florida, the lawsuit for wrongful death has to be filed within two years after the time of death. This contradicts the statutes in Michigan where the wrongful death action accrues on the wrongful act date, and not the death date (McCullough, Campbell & Lane LLP, 2002).Caps on Recovery of Patients and Attorney FeesMedical malpractices statutes of limitation in Michigan constitutes of limits on the recoverable amount for inconvenience, suffering and pain, physical disfigurement and inconvenience. These damages are also known as non-economic damages and there is a set limit or maximum for every plaintiff which was set in 1993 to be $280,000 (McCullough, Campbell & Lane LLP, 2002). However, this excludes cases of paralysis caused by spinal or brain injury, cognitive ability impairment or reproductive ability loss which was set to be $500,000. These provisions are set in Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated. Section 600.1483. (McCullough, Campbell & Lane LLP, 2002). These laws however don’t apply to cases of wrongful death. The Cap on the attorney fees of Attorneys provides that attorneys’ compensation is left to the implied parties’ agreement or to the express pursuant to the rule of the court. In Michigan, the contingency fee in cases of wrongful deaths and personal injury are by law strictly limited to a third of the recovered amount (McCullough, Campbell & Lane LLP, 2002).                     Reference:McCullough, Campbell & Lane LLP (2002). Summary of medical malpractice law:         Michigan. Retrieved August 11, 2010 from,           http://www.mcandl.com/michigan.htmlMcMillen, S.R. (1996). The medical malpractice statute of limitations: some answers and           some questions. Retrieved August 11, 2010 from,             http://www.floridamalpractice.com/articlestatlimitations.htm.