If you file a successful medical malpractice claim in Maryland, the damages you are awarded are subject to a cap.
As we’ve discussed in our blog, there are two kinds of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are damages awarded to compensate the victim for past, present and future medical bills, lost income, and the impact of injuries sustained as a result of medical negligence on his or her ability to earn a living in the future. There is no cap on these kinds of damages in Maryland.
There is, however, a cap on non-economic damages. The definition of non-economic damages differs slightly between personal injury and wrongful death cases, but in general includes awards for pain and suffering, mental distress, and overall decrease in quality of life. In the case of wrongful death, non-economic damages (and economic damages) are awarded to the family of the deceased.
Maryland’s non-economic damages cap is currently $740,000. This means that if a jury were to award a victim any amount higher than this in non-economic damages, the victim would still only receive the maximum of $740,000.
Maryland’s medical malpractice cap is increasing at the rate of $15,000 per year, which means that in 2015, the cap will be $755,000. However, there is a caveat here, which is that the cap applies not to the year in which the court’s decision is rendered, but the year in which the injury was sustained. For example, let’s say a victim in Maryland was a victim of medical malpractice in 2014 and received a verdict from a jury in 2015 (the time frame is accelerated for argument’s sake). The victim would be subject to the cap level in 2014, not 2015. The maximum amount he or she could receive in non-economic damages would be $740,000, not $755,000.