How Damages Work in Maryland Injury Cases
The following is taken from an interview with a Maryland injury lawyer as they discuss the different forms of damages taken into account in personal injury cases. For information regarding damages in your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
Types of Damages
In Maryland there are two forms of damages. The first kind is non-economic damages which account for both past and future pain and suffering. The second kind of damages are economic damages which are much more easily quantifiable and usually account for medical expenses, lost wages, and any kind of pension loss or property damage. These types of damages are usually decided by the judge, or in the case of a jury trial, the jury. However, in Maryland there is a cap on non-economic damages meaning that the damage for your pain and suffering has the damage cap of $810,000.
For medical expenses you get the medical records from each medical provider or healthcare provider that the person has seen and then each of those providers will issue an itemization of their charges so you can add those up. Next you get a doctor’s report for future medical care, which can include things like an orthopedic procedure that you need every 6 months or future surgery. You can have a doctor estimate the amount of that future medical treatment and that can be that way you will calculate your past medical expenses. Anything that you would need in the future would be future medical expenses.
Lost wages would be calculated by through either pay stubs or tax returns reflecting how much money you make at your job and then they will multiply your earnings by what you could, by the amount of time you have missed from work. So if you would make $500 a week as a gross wage and you missed two weeks of work you would calculate that as $1000 of lost wages because it will be $500 per week and then for two weeks loss of work.
For property damage you would calculate the amount or the value of your vehicle and the way they do that is the estimates or the repair or the actual cost of the repair of the vehicle. So if you had if your car was damaged the repairs could cost your car $2000 then that would be the cost for your property damage. If the car was considered a total loss meaning that the amount of repairs was approximately of the value of your vehicle then they would use that to calculate the amount of your property damage.
The damages that we have been talking about so far meaning the loss of wages, the medical expenses both past and future and the pain and suffering are considered compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are damages that are meant to punish an individual because their acts were so outrageous or so outside the scope of someone who is reasonable that they should be punished for their actions.
Punitive damages in Maryland are incredibly rare but they can be awarded, and they are often awarded as some kind of function of the compensatory damages so maybe 3 times or 5 times or even 10 times as much as the compensatory damages. It is really up to the discretion of the judge or the jury to decide the amount of the punitive damages.