What Will I Receive If I Win A Maryland Personal Injury Case?
The prevailing party in the typical personal injury case in Maryland is entitled to recover compensatory damages. This form of recompense is the remedy recognized under our civil justice system for a civil legal wrong [e.g. an act of negligence] and is designed to “make an individual whole” for what they have lost as a result of another’s misconduct. In other words, money damages are designed to restore an individual to the position they would have been had it not been for their loss. Unfortunately in the arena of personal injury, money is a poor substitute for one's bodily integrity, function and good health.
Indeed, it might never be possible to fully monetarily compensate a seriously injured individual.
As an initial matter, money alone can never fully restore the pre-accident normal function or appearance of an individual's body. Moreover, it might not be possible to fully, accurately, and adequately correlate damage to health on the one hand, and dollars on the other, and then reduce it to a specific amount. Nevertheless, damages are the time-honored and long-standing remedy in such cases, employed every day by jurors across the state. Under Maryland law two forms of compensatory damage are available: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages perhaps best fulfill and meet the goal of making an individual “whole” after an injury causing event. In a common personal injury case, one would expect to see economic damages as compensation for
- lost wages
- medical expenses, and
- out-of-pocket expenditures such as transportation.
These are typically easily ascertainable and quantifiable amounts. To the extent that the individual has incurred the loss, or the expense, they can be compensated, in full, for the expense that they incurred and thus made whole.
Non-economic damages can be not only more difficult to fairly and appropriately calculate, but are also be more difficult to fit squarely within the compensatory “make whole” framework. Factors included in a jury's consideration of such an award are:
- the nature and extent of the personal injury
- the effect those injuries have had on the physical and mental health of the individual pain
- disfigurement, humiliation and embarrassment.
These factors are largely subjective, and everyone would agree can be difficult to apply to a given set of circumstances involving a serious injury to another individual. Unlike economic damages, which perhaps involve a mathematical calculation, correlating someone's physical anguish or permanent disfigurement, or loss of or loss of use of a body part to dollar and cents, and then further determining that a specific dollar amount is appropriate compensation can be an arduous and very difficult task. A seasoned personal injury litigator can provide some guidance and assist in illuminating, illustrating, and conveying the fully scope of a serious injury to others.