Is There A Limit To How Much I Can Recover In A Maryland Personal Injury Case?
I Attorney Eric T. Kirk discussed the various and myriad factors that go into assessing and assigning a value to a personal injury case in other Articles. Maryland law divides damages into two broad categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages in the typical personal injury case will include past and future wages lost because of any resulting disability, medical expenses, both past and future and out-of-pocket expenditures- for example money spent on a rental car while a damaged vehicle is being repaired.
Maryland law contains no limit on economic damage.
If one is injured in a catastrophic accident and rendered unable to work for the remainder of their life the measure of their lost wage claim would be what they were capable of making for the rest of their life, based on their age education and experience- without limitation. If one sustains a serious injury and requires lifetime medical care which can be predicted to a reasonable probability, that injured individual is entitled to collect the full amount of those expenses, as well as any incurred in the past, again without limitation. Maryland law treats non-economic damages differently. Here the proponents of a movement known as tort reform have influenced the legislature to impose restrictions on a jury’s power to compensate victims.
In Maryland there are imitations on recovery for non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages are the components and expression of a loss that are perhaps a little less concrete and less easily labeled than the economic factors. Non-economic damages are typically thought of as things such as: mental and physical anguish, stress, pain, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety, suffering, disfigurement, inconvenience and the diminishment of the quality of one’s life. These concepts are not directly economic in nature. In other words, there is no fixed dollar value for these various components of loss. Maryland, like many states, has imposed a cap on recoveries for non-economic damage. Beginning in 1986, recoveries for non-economic damages have been limited by a cap. Damages awarded in a medical negligence case are limited, or reduced, by a different formula. For non-economic damages in a “standard” negligence case:
The current non-economic damages cap is $875,000.
In a wrongful death case with multiple claimants, the amount recoverable for non-economic damage is likewise limited, but by a different formula. The cap increases by $15,000 on October 1 of every year.There are other important limitations and factors. There are different limitations for medical malpractice actions. In a wrongful death case in which there are two or more beneficiaries, non-economic damages are capped at 150% of the base cap.