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What is a Notice of Intent in Michigan Malpractice Law?

July 16, 2021

If you have suffered serious injuries that you believe are the result of the negligence of a doctor, physician, hospital, or other healthcare provider in Michigan, you are required to comply with a number of specific procedural requirements at the start of a medical malpractice case.

The first is the prerequisite that a plaintiff must send each potential defendant a notice of intent to file a lawsuit. This must be accomplished no less than 182 days before the filing of a lawsuit.

Michigan requires a mandatory 182-day notice of a lawsuit to all of the defendants. A formal complaint with the affidavits of merit from qualifying medical experts cannot be filed until the 182-day waiting period has expired.

A plaintiff’s notice of intent to file a claim must be sent to all the relevant parties.

A notice of intent is a letter that states the specifics of a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim. A notice of intent gives a doctor, physician, hospital, or other healthcare provider an opportunity to prepare a defense.

What Must be Contained in a Notice of Intent?

Under Michigan law, there are a number of items that must be in a plaintiff’s notice of intent to file, including the following:

  • A factual basis for the plaintiff’s claim of medical malpractice;
  • The standard of care the plaintiff should have received;
  • The way in which the medical practice or professional’s treatment and care failed to measure up to the standards of care;
  • The way in which the treatment and care by the medical practice or professional should have been administered;
  • The way in which the medical practice’s or professional’s actions or failure to take action caused the plaintiff’s injury; and
  • The names of each doctor, physician, hospital, or other healthcare provider the plaintiff plans to sue.

What Happens After a Plaintiff Sends the 182-Day Notice of Intent?

Within 56 days after sending the notice of intent to the doctor, physician, hospital, or other healthcare provider, the plaintiff is required to provide the named defendants access to all the relevant medical records he or she has, as well as a release for the records the plaintiff does not have within their control.

Likewise, the defendants must give the plaintiff access to any related records that are in their control.

In addition, the defendant must also give the plaintiff a written response to the notice within 154 days after receiving it. This response must include a factual basis for their defense to the medical malpractice claim and must include statements that demonstrate that the doctor, physician, hospital, or other healthcare provider’s conduct met the applicable treatment standards and/or wasn’t the cause of the injuries alleged by the plaintiff.

If the plaintiff doesn’t receive this response within the 154-day period, the plaintiff may file the lawsuit without waiting for the end of the 182 days, provided there’s still time to do so under the Michigan statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits.

Can the 182-Day Notice Period Be Shortened?

Yes, this 182-day notice period may be reduced to 91 days in some circumstances. Michigan medical malpractice law stipulates that 182-day notice period may be reduced to 91 days if:

  • The plaintiff has already given notice to other potential defendants involved in the claim;
  • The 182-day notice period has already expired as it applies to those other defendants;
  • The plaintiff has already filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against at least one of those other defendants; and
  • Prior to filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff couldn’t have reasonably identified the other potential defendants that should receive the notice of intent.

You should understand that each of the four requirements on the list must be satisfied in order to reduce the notice period from 182 days down to 91.

Takeaway

Michigan’s notice of intent rule allows healthcare providers to review a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim and try to find all available defenses before it can be even filed in court. In effect, the defendant is given a “head start” in preparing for the lawsuit.

This rule demonstrates the favoritism the legal system has for the healthcare industry and how seriously injured patients are required to jump through a number of legal hoops to file a medical malpractice claim in Michigan.

That’s a lot of deadlines to remember and satisfy. It’s clear that an experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney is critical to satisfying all of the legal requirements to filing a claim.

Speak with an Experienced Michigan Medical Malpractice Attorney

For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We can discuss your situation if you believe you’ve been injured as the result of a misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, or an error in lab results.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today!