Statute of Limitations Michigan Statute of Limitations, Civil Actions

  1. The Michigan Statute of Limitations for civil actions sets a time limit after an injury or civil wrong occurs, during which an injured party can file a lawsuit. After that period of time expires, the injured party is no longer permitted to file a claim in a Michigan state court to litigate that matter. The statute ensures that lawsuits that have merit and worthy of being heard are filed within a reasonable time or not at all.

    How Does the Statute of Limitations Operate?

    The period of time to file a claim will vary depending upon the type of incident that occurred. A claim against a doctor for medical malpractice may be for a different length of time than against an accountant for negligence or fraud. The Michigan statute of limitations can generally be found within the Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 58 and covers the following rules and exceptions in greater detail.

    When does the Michigan Statute of Limitations Begin?

    Other than for specific exceptions, the Michigan statute of limitations generally begins to run at the time when a "cause of action arises" - in other words, at the time when an injury occurs that would qualify for a lawsuit to be filed in a Michigan state court.

    What is the Discovery Rule?

    There are times when a person is unable to discover that they have been injured. For example, a fraud or harm against another person is not easily discoverable and can only be detected after time reveals the nature and scope of the fraud or injury. It wouldn't be fair or reasonable to require the injured party to file a lawsuit when they could not have detected the injury. As a result, in some instances the Michigan statute of limitations begins to run from the time the injured party discovers or should have discovered that they have been injured.

    Delaying or Tolling the Michigan Statute of Limitations

    In certain circumstances, fairness would require that the statute of limitations be delayed for a period of time. A party may not have the ability to bring a case even though they are aware of an injury or damages. Delaying or "tolling" the statute of limitations typically occurs when the plaintiff is "disabled" - such as a minor child or a person who is mentally incompetent. Once the disability ends, the statute of limitations begins to run.

    Calculating the length of time that a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit is complicated and involves many factors and exceptions. Parties that have suffered significant injuries or damages may wish to consult with a Michigan attorney to ensure that all claims and notices are filed within the time limits set forth by law.

    Michigan Civil Statute: Michigan Compiled Laws

    Personal Injury and Negligence

    3 years generally, use the Discovery Rule for issues that concern later discovery of the injury. See MCL §600.5805(2)

    Wrongful Death

    3 years from the date of the occurrence.

    Medical Malpractice

    2 years, use the Discovery Rule up to a maximum of 6 months from the date of discovery - 6 year maximum unless claim involves a foreign object or fraud by the defendant. For minors under age 8, statute begins to run at the greater of the minor turning age age 10 or within 2 years from the date of the injury. Notice of claim required within 182 days, which tolls the statute of limitations. Other rules can apply in specific cases. See MCL §600.5805

    Legal and Professional Malpractice

    2 years with the Discovery Rule. See MCL §600.5805(4)

    Products Liability

    3 years using the Occurrence Rule. No strict liability of the product was used by plaintiff for 10 more more years.

    Assault and Battery

    2 or 5 years (fact dependent).

    False Imprisonment

    2 years.

    Comparative Negligence



    Written contracts 6 years. Oral contracts 6 years. See MCL §600.5807(8)


    6 years.

    Personal Property Damages

    3 years.


    6 years.

    Libel / Slander / Defamation

    1 years from the date of publication (or the date when spoken). See MCL §600.5813(7)

    Debt Collection Accounts

    6 years. See MCL §600.5813

    Collection of Rent

    6 years. See MCL §600.5813

    Judgment Enforcement

    10 years in most instances, in some exceptions 6 years. See MCL §600.5813


    If statute of limitations has not run out, minors (under 18) and those without capacity due to insanity have 1 year after the removal of the disability.

    Charitable Immunity


    Liability of State and Municipalities

    State of Michigan can be sued for auto and motor vehicles accidents, defective roads and other limited circumstances. Waived only as per statutory consent.

    No-Fault Insurance

    Yes - no-fault insurance applies.

    Consumer Fraud Complaints

    Michigan Attorney General

    Telephone: (517) 373-1110 (Lansing)
    (313) 456-0240 (Detroit)
    (616) 356-0400 (Grand Rapids)
    (517) 373-1140 (Consumer Protection Division)

    Please Take Note: The statute of limitations laws presented are strictly provided to you “as-is”. While we believe that the legal information is accurate as of the date created, we cannot and do not provide any guarantee, analysis or conclusions. The law may have changed since this article was published. The only way to ensure that the statute of limitations law you are reading is up to date and applies to your specific issue, is to have a legal consultation with an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Michigan.
    • Michigan
    Lawsuits, Disputes:
    Statute Of Limitations

    Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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