Is there a cap on medical malpractice damages in Maryland?
Yes. Like a number of states, Maryland has passed a law that places a limit or "cap" on certain kinds of damages (compensation) that are available to a plaintiff who has been successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Currently, Maryland has a cap on non-economic damages in any malpractice claim arising from the same medical injury, regardless of how many defendants there are.
For 2016, the cap was $770,000. By law, since 2009, Maryland’s medical malpractice damages cap is set to increase by $15,000 each year. So (assuming no other legislative changes), for 2017 the cap is $785,000, for 2018 it will be $800,000, then $815,000 for 2019, and so on.
So, what are non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case? It is a category of damages that includes compensation for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, and other negative effects of the medical negligence. These kinds of damages aren’t easily captured by a dollar figure, and they are more subjective from plaintiff to plaintiff.
It’s important to note that Maryland's damages cap has no effect on the other main category of damages available to a med mal plaintiff: economic damages. Those include compensation for past medical expenses, payment for ongoing medical care, reimbursement for lost income, and compensation for any harm to the plaintiff’s ability to earn a living. Maryland has no cap for these kinds of damages in a medical malpractice case.
by: David Goguen, J.D.