If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you may be thinking of filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. If so, you should be familiar with one of the most important Michigan laws governing personal injury cases: the statute of limitations. This law is so significant that failing to comply with it could cost you the right to receive compensation for your injuries. Here is everything you need to know about the statute of limitations law for slip and fall accidents in Michigan.
A statute of limitations is a law that requires plaintiffs to file personal injury lawsuits within a certain time limit. Those who fail to meet this legal deadline are likely to have their claims dismissed. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state. In Michigan, there are different statutes of limitations for various types of claims such as malpractice and assault and battery. These timelines can range from months to several years, depending on the nature of the lawsuit.
According to Michigan law, the usual statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including slip and fall cases, is three years. The period ends three years “after the time of the death or injury for all actions to recover damages for the death of a person, or for injury to a person or property.”
The law specifically states that a victim may not file a claim to recover damages unless this is done within the legal time period.
However, there are exceptions to this rule that apply under certain circumstances. Therefore, it’s important to consult a qualified personal injury lawyer if you are thinking of filing a slip and fall accident claim.
The legal clock starts ticking on the day you were injured. Then, you have three years to initiate legal action against the person or party responsible for the property where you were injured.
The three year statute of limitations includes every day on the calendar, including weekends and holidays.
However, if you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you should not wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire before taking legal action. Instead, you should contact an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
For one thing, the sooner your lawyer files your claim, the sooner you will receive the compensation you’re entitled to. Once your case is started, the ensuing legal process can be lengthy. It takes time for your lawyer to obtain the medical records and other information that is necessary to win your case.
In addition, as time goes by, evidence can disappear and witnesses’ memories may fade. Furthermore, if you were injured on property occupied by a business, it’s possible the business could be defunct and the owner no longer available if you wait too long.
Yes. There are certain situations where the three-year deadline may be extended.
Slip and fall victims who were minors (under 18) at the time they were injured have one year from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. However, because delaying legal action is not recommended (see above section), it’s preferable for the minor’s parent or guardian to file on their behalf.
Another exception is when a victim has “a condition of mental derangement” that prevents them from understanding their rights and acting accordingly. In these circumstances, the person does not have to be declared legally insane for the statute of limitations to be extended.
The three year time period may also be extended if the person believed to be responsible for the accident – usually the property owner – leaves the state before the lawsuit is filed. If the defendant is absent for more than two months and cannot be served, the statute of limitations is likely to be prolonged.
Unless you qualify for one of the above exceptions, your claim is likely to be dismissed if you file after the three year statute of limitations has expired. And, exceeding this time period works against you if you try to negotiate a settlement with the responsible party without filing suit. Your leverage is diminished when the defendant knows you will not be able to sue them in court if they don’t meet your terms.
Most slip and fall accidents that happen on public property are caused by ice and snow or poorly maintained streets and sidewalks. However, in many cases, the concept of governmental immunity protects federal, state and local entities from liability.
Nevertheless, it is possible to seek compensation if you are injured on government property. Most jurisdictions have strict procedures for filing these types of claims, and they must be filed against the specific government entity responsible for the hazard that caused your injury.
In addition, the statutes of limitations for government claims are much shorter than the three years allowed for standard personal injury claims. Plaintiffs have six months to file most claims against a state government agency, or 120 days for claims involving defective highways or public buildings. If the claim is denied or ignored, the statute of limitations is extended to two years. Filing deadlines vary depending on the rules for each jurisdiction.
Because the filing rules are so complex, we recommend hiring a skilled slip and fall attorney to ensure the best outcome for you and your family.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, contact us immediately. At The Sam Bernstein Law Firm, we understand the complexities of slip and fall cases and we will fight to win the compensation you deserve.
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