Michigan Nursing Home Abuse Laws
Michigan Damage Caps and Recoverable Losses
The state of Michigan places a $280,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The cap is adjusted annually for inflation. However, in some cases of catastrophic injury, for example if a victim was rendered a quadriplegic, the monetary damages cap is raised to $500,000.
In cases for wrongful death in Michigan, a claimant may recover only compensatory damages. The recoverable losses include pecuniary expenses; hospital and other medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering, loss of financial support and loss of society and companionship. The state of Michigan does not put a damages cap on wrongful death cases.
The Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Actions
The Michigan statute of limitations on personal injury cases is three years. The statute of limitations on wrongful death actions is generally 3 years after the date of death. In cases where a claimant dies before statute of limitation has expired or within 30 days after the statute of limitations has expired, an action which survives by law may be commenced by the decedent’s personal representative at any time within two years after letters of authority are issued, but no action may be brought more than three years after the period of limitations has lapsed.
Attorney’s Fees and Contingent Fees
The state of Michigan currently limits a lawyer’s contingent fee in all claims for personal injury or wrongful death at one-third of the recovery. This is true for all claims litigated in Michigan state courts, even if the client is a resident of a state where fees in excess of one-third are allowed. Further, Michigan rules mandate that a lawyer may not divide a fee with an out-of-state lawyer if the total fee earned exceeds one-third of the recovery when a personal injury or wrongful death case is to be tried in Michigan state courts.
Nursing Home Rules and Regulations
Nursing homes in the state of Michigan must comply with state and federal government regulations that set minimum levels of care which is assured to each and every nursing home resident. Under these regulations, nursing homes are required to develop, post and implement a policy on the rights and responsibilities of patients. The Patient’s Bill of Rights in the Michigan Public Health Code assure elderly nursing home residents the following protections:
- The right to be free from mental, sexual and physical abuse.
- The right to be free from physical and chemical restraints, barring limited exceptions.
- The right to obtain a copy of their medical records.
- The right to confidentiality with regards to medical treatment and records.
- The right to privacy in treatment and caring for personal needs.
- The right to consideration, respect, and full recognition of his/her dignity and individuality.
- The right to receive proper medical treatment and personal care.
- The right to be information about their medical condition, proposed treatment and prospects for recovery.
- The right to be provided with meals that meet the recommended dietary allowances for the patient’s age and sex and that conform to the individual’s special dietary needs.
- The right to file a complaint against the nursing home facility without reprisal.
- The right to receive and examine an explanation of his/her bill. Residents are also entitled to know the names of persons providing their medical care and treatment.
- The right to associate (or not associate) and have private communications with anyone of their choosing. This includes privacy and confidentiality when sending and receiving personal mail.
- The right to use and retain personal clothing and possessions as space permits and as long it it does not interfere with the rights of over residents.
- The rights to retain and practice rights of US citizens including the right to vote and to exercise civil and religious liberties.
The state of Michigan is home to over 400 nursing homes that are licensed and regulated by the Michigan’s Department of Community Health Bureau of Health Systems. The regulations require that all licensed nursing homes in Michigan be overseen by a licensed administrator, comply with detailed health and safety codes, and provide privacy to residents.
Michigan’s long-term care ombudsman provides training and information for Michigan nursing home residents. It is responsible for assuring that residents in receive the highest quality of care and quality of life in accordance with all state and federal requirements. The long-term care ombudsman is responsible for receiving and investigating complaints made by residents and their families against nursing homes.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. The legal statutes, laws and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.
Image via Flickr via Paul Bica