What is the Damages Cap for Maryland Wrongful Death Actions?
When a person dies due to the actions of a third party, surviving family members can file a wrongful death action to recover compensation for their losses. In these situations, the surviving family members usually request economic and non-economic damages. Though Maryland law does place a cap on the amount of certain damages available in wrongful death actions.
What is the Definition of Economic Damages?
Maryland Code of Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 11-109 establishes the definition of economic damages. In wrongful death actions, the term economic damages refers to:
- Past medical expenses;
- Future medical expenses;
- Past lost wages; and
- Future lost wages.
Overall, economic damages represent quantifiable losses. Consequently, Maryland law does not impose a cap on this type of damages in a wrongful death action. But economic damages must be directly relatable to the wrongful act that caused the death in question.
What is the Definition of Non-Economic Damages?
Maryland Code of Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 11-108 provides the definition of non-economic damages. In wrongful death actions, the term non-economic damages typically refers to:
- Emotional pain and suffering;
- Loss of advice, attention, care, counsel, comfort, companionship, education, guidance, protection, society, or training; and
- Other non-economic damages available under Maryland law.
It is vital to note that the term non-economic damages does not include punitive damages. Though in the personal injury context, it is not common to obtain punitive damages.
Unlike quantifiable economic damages, non-economic damages are much harder to measure accurately. As a result, Maryland law imposes a cap on the amount of non-economic damages available in a wrongful death case.
What is the Cap on Non-Economic Damages for Wrongful Death?
Section 11-109 also details the cap on non-economic damages in Maryland wrongful death actions. Since the inception of this cap, there is a fixed limit on the amount of non-economic damages available for a wrongful death case. This limit increases by $15,000 each year by statute.
- In 2018, the non-economic damages cap for wrongful death actions was $860,000;
- In 2019, the non-economic damages cap for wrongful death actions is $875,000; and
- In 2020, the non-economic damages cap for wrongful death actions will be $890,000.
On the other hand, there is an exception to the non-economic damages cap in wrongful death cases. If there is more than one person requesting damages from a wrongful death action, the cap increases by 150 percent. But this increase only occurs once. Stated otherwise, whether there are two or 10 claimants, the non-economic damages cap can only increase by 150 percent.
Let Us Help You Today
If you need legal help with a wrongful death action in Maryland, it can be extremely useful to consult with a seasoned personal injury lawyer. The Baltimore wrongful death lawyers at Iamele & Iamele, LLP have widespread experience with many facets of personal injury law, including wrongful death actions. If you need legal help, please contact us today for a free initial consultation.