Exploring the Limits on Damages for Medical Malpractice in Maryland
Medical malpractice is a subsection of personal injury law that allows patients to recover compensation for negligent actions in the healthcare context. It is vital to note that the patient must suffer harm or injury to be eligible for medical malpractice claims. Simple errors that do not injure or otherwise harm the patient fall below the threshold for medical malpractice claims.
Concerning medical malpractice in Maryland, specifically, the state legislature enacted certain limits on the amount of damages a patient can recover. Before delving into the specific limits, also referred to as caps, it will be useful to review the difference between economic and noneconomic damages in Maryland.
What is the Difference Between Economic and Noneconomic Damages?
Economic damages refer to actual and measurable costs sustained by the victim. Common examples of economic damages may include medical expenses, continuing medical treatment, lost wages and diminished working capacity.
Noneconomic damages refer to more abstract costs sustained by the victim. These damages are often open to interpretation and, thus, more difficult to estimate than economic damages. Common examples of noneconomic damages may include emotional or psychological distress, ongoing physical pain and other negative consequences.
What is the Cap for Medical Malpractice Damages in Maryland?
First and foremost, Maryland does not have a cap on the amount of economic damages stemming from medical malpractice. So long as a victim can prove their costs with reasonable certainty – and prevail in their medical malpractice lawsuit – then there is no limit on the amount of economic damages.
As detailed in Code of Maryland Section 3-2A-09, there is a cap on the amount of noneconomic damages available to victims of medical malpractice. Though that cap updates each year to adjust for inflation and other changes to costs. Essentially, the cap on increases by $15,000 each year. Please find below an overview of recent caps for the noneconomic damages in Maryland:
- In 2016, the cap was $770,000;
- In 2017, the cap is $785,000;
- In 2018, the cap will be $800,000.
Are There Exceptions to the Noneconomic Damages Cap in Maryland?
Section 3-2A-09 does provide special rules in place for medical malpractice that results in wrongful death. When there are two or other surviving dependents, wrongful death allows for the recovery of 125 percent of the present cap. But it is crucial to note that the 125 percent increase applies whether there are two or 10 claimants for damages.
For illustrative purposes, please find below an overview of recent caps for noneconomic damages in cases of medical practice that resulted in wrongful death:
- In 2016, the cap was $962,500;
- In 2017, the cap is $981,250; and
- In 2018, the cap will be $1,000,000.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you or a loved one are dealing with medical malpractice, there are numerous advantages to hiring a talented personal injury attorney. With offices in Baltimore, Maryland, the attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP have proven talent and skill in the field of personal injury law, including medical malpractice. If you have legal questions, contact us immediately for a free initial consultation.