Every year on October 1, Maryland makes an important change to its personal injury laws that most people do not know about. The state’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages increases by a designated amount over the previous year — a provision intended to account for inflation and cost of living fluctuations. As of September 30, 2022, the cap was $905,000; effective October 1, 2022, the amount is $920,000. In addition, the statutory cap on noneconomic damages for wrongful death went up to $1.38 million.
This annual adjustment benefits accident victims who sustain significant physical, emotional, and financial losses after being injured or losing a loved one. However, there are important details behind the numbers. The statutory cap is limited in application, and it is crucial to understand the basics. While you can count on your Baltimore County personal injury lawyer to address essential legal requirements, an overview is informative.
The point of monetary damages is to compensate an accident victim who was injured because of someone else’s negligent acts. Damages aim to make the victim whole and as if the incident never happened, at least as much as is practical. With some losses, compensation is relatively straightforward. You can show receipts or invoices to obtain reimbursement for medical costs, and your lost wages are provable via tax records and pay stubs. These are your economic damages.
Noneconomic damages are somewhat more subjective because they cover losses that impact your quality of life. They are often termed pain and suffering damages, but the lack of paperwork means you need to rely on other evidence to prove them.
Maryland’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages does not affect economic damages. You are still entitled to the full amount for medical expenses, lost income, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Application of the Statutory Cap on Noneconomic Damages
The limitation on certain forms of compensation affects almost all personal injury accidents, subject to a key exception that is described below. Your noneconomic damages will not exceed $920,000 or $1.38 million for:
- A car, truck, or motorcycle collision;
- A pedestrian, bicycle, or scooter crash;
- A slip and fall or other accident on the property; and,
- Injuries that result from a dangerous, defective product.
The important exception to the statutory cap impacts medical malpractice claims. These cases are also subject to a limitation, and the law increases every year, just like the cap for personal injury accidents. Effective January 1, 2022, the statutory cap on pain and suffering damages is $860,000, and $1.075 million for wrongful death claims.
A Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Can Provide Additional Details
This summary is helpful for understanding compensation and Maryland’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages, but there are many other details that impact your case. If you were injured or lost a loved one in any of these incidents, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to learn more about the legal process. If you are looking for a good personal injury lawyer in Baltimore county or Anne Arundel county, you can call 410.363.6848 or go online to schedule a free consultation at our offices in Owings Millsor Glen Burnie.