Michigan Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in Michigan is three (3) years (Ref: Mi. Section 600.5805). 


What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within three years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within three years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration or trial. 


Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the Michigan Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to an Michigan personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in Michigan

There are some variations & exceptions to the three years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Michigan. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 


  • If the injured person is "insane" at the time of the underlying accident, he or she will have one year to file the lawsuit once the period of "insanity" is over. Note that "insane" in this context means "a condition of mental derangement" that prevents the sufferer from comprehending his or her rights, and is "not dependent on whether or not the person has been judicially declared to be insane." 
  • If the injured person was under the age of 18 at the time of the underlying accident, he or she will have one year to file the personal injury lawsuit after turning 18. 
  • If the person who allegedly caused the injury (the defendant) leaves the state of Michigan at some point after the underlying accident, and before the lawsuit can be filed, and is gone for more than two months, the period of absence likely won't be counted as part of the two years, as long as there is no way for the plaintiff to "serve" the defendant with the lawsuit during the absence.

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the Michigan statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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