Is There a Limit on Damages for Medical Malpractice Claims in Maryland?
When a patient suffers a qualifying injury from their doctor, compensation from a medical malpractice claim can help that patient become whole again. As it becomes more and more complex to provide adequate healthcare in modern times, there has been a corresponding rise in medical malpractice claims and lawsuits in Maryland.
Maryland law allows medical malpractice victims to seek compensation for various types of damages, including specific expenses as well as general pain and suffering. As some of these damages are abstract in nature, it is often difficult to determine the exact amount to award to the victim. To prevent unreasonably large medical malpractice awards, Maryland instituted a limit on certain types of damages for these cases.
Under Maryland law, economic damages in a medical malpractice case refer to a person’s measurable harm. More specifically, Maryland limits economic damages to:
- Past medical bills;
- Future medical bills;
- Past lost wages; and
- Future lost wages.
There is an important caveat. The economic damages above must be directly relatable to the medical malpractice claim. The victim must be able to demonstrate a causal link between the healthcare bills or lost wages and the medical injury in question.
Assuming the injured patient can prove such a causal link, there is not a limit on their ability to recover economic damages. So long as the injured victim can calculate their economic damages with certainty, there is no cap on their recovery.
Under Maryland law, noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice case refer to a person’s immeasurable, abstract harm. Though the exact nature of noneconomic damages does change based on the nature of the harm or injury in question. For example:
- Personal Injury Claims — Noneconomic damages refer to pain, suffering, disability, and impairment as well as other difficulties and non-monetary injuries; and
- Wrongful Death Claims — Noneconomic damages refer to psychological pain and suffering, physical pain and suffering, and loss of support, companionship, protection, care, marital or filial care, training, education, guidance, or counsel.
Limit on Noneconomic Damages
Unlike economic damages, Maryland law imposes a limit on the amount of noneconomic damages an injured patient can recover for medical malpractice. These caps change based on the type of injury in question.
For medical malpractice claims based on personal injury, the noneconomic damages cap increases by $15,000 each year. For illustrative purposes, please find below past, current, and future caps for medical malpractice claims based on personal injury:
- In 2018, the cap was $800,000;
- In 2019, the cap is $815,000;
- In 2020, the cap will be $830,000.
For medical malpractice claims based on wrongful death, the noneconomic damages cap is 125 percent of the personal injury cap. For illustrative purposes, please find below past, current, and future caps for medical malpractice claims based on wrongful death:
- In 2018, the cap was $1,000,000;
- In 2019, the cap is $1,018,750;
- In 2019, the cap will be $1,037,500.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you think that you might qualify for a medical malpractice claim in Maryland, it can be extremely valuable to contact a qualified personal injury attorney. The Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP have demonstrated qualifications in personal injury law, including medical malpractice claims and related damage limits. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.