The Michigan Statute of Limitations
Every state has a time limit on how long you have to file a claim for injuries and property losses following a car accident. This time limit is called the statute of limitations, and it will have an effect on any type of claim you have, not just those stemming from motor vehicle accidents.
Time limits for Traffic Accident Claims
The Statute of Limitations in Michigan is three years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your claim within three years, you will lose your opportunity to file a claim at all. There are some exceptions to the time limits, and in some cases, the court will ‘toll’ or stop the countdown clock for a certain length of time. In some cases, the clock does not start ticking until after you learn you are injured which can occur some time after the accident.
When Traffic Accidents Cause Death
If the accident caused a wrongful death, the state also allows you three years to file a claim, but the clock won’t start ticking until the date of death, which may also occur sometime after the accident.
Claims Against State of Michigan
If a defective roadway caused the accident, you might be able to file a claim against the government agency who is responsible for maintaining the road. However, the rules for filing a claim against the government are different from typical civil claims. Michigan requires that you notify the responsible agency within 120 days from the date of the accident of your intent.
If the accident victim is a minor under the age of 18, they will have 180 days from the date of the accident to file a claim.
If the accident victim is physically or mentally incapable of filing notice, they will be given 180 days after the “termination” of the disability to file a claim notice.
Whether you are bringing a claim against an individual driver or against the state, you will need to begin gathering evidence immediately following the accident that shows the scene, damage, and in the case of defective road claims, the defects or hazards. Even though you may have plenty of time to file a claim the proof you need to defend that claim won’t wait for you.