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Is There a Cap on How Much a Jury Can Award in a Maryland Personal Injury Case?

The answer is legally complicated. To begin, this article will address only Maryland personal injury claims like claims following a Maryland auto accident or a slip and fall accident at a Maryland retail store. For other types of claims, like medical malpractice cases and where the at-fault party is a government employee or agency, there are caps on how much can be awarded in compensation. However, those types of cases are not discussed in this article. If you have been the victim of a personal injury accident here in Waldorf, Maryland, or other communities in Southern Maryland, contact us here at the Law Office of Robert Castro. Our number is (301) 870-1200. We are top-tier and seasoned Maryland personal injury attorneys with extensive experience.

With respect to caps on damages, there are two relevant limits. The first one is a natural limit based on the facts and evidence in your case. This is not a limit/cap imposed by law, but rather by the injury suffered and the costs, fees, and expenses incurred because of the injury. In simple terms, you cannot ask for $1 billion in compensation if your injury caused just $500,000 in medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other categories of economic damages. In this sense, there is a natural “cap” or “limit” based on the injuries and damages suffered.

There is another limit/cap that is set by law on certain types of damages. See MD Courts & Jud. Proc. Code, § 3-2A-09. This limit applies to what are called “non-economic” damages. In simple terms, these are the sorts of damages that are not easily reduced to numbers and mathematical summation. As an example, hospital bills are economic damages because, at the bottom of each invoice, there is a number representing an amount due. These numbers can be added up to the total amount of damages due for hospital bills that were caused by the accident. The same is true for damages like lost wages, repairs or replacement of property — like a vehicle — damaged in the accident or for physical and rehabilitative therapy following an injury. A victim is entitled to recover compensation for the full amount of these types of damages. That is, there is no statutory cap/limit for these types of damages.

By contrast, non-economic types of damages cannot be reduced to a number in such a manner and the law limits the amount that can be recovered. By statute, for personal injury claims, non-economic damages are defined as “pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or another “non-pecuniary injury.” By statute, the cap/limit for non-economic damages is currently — in 2022 — $920,000 and increases by $15,000 a year. See MD Courts & Jud. Proc. Code, § 11-108 (a)(ii)(1).

Note that Maryland personal injury juries are not informed of the statutory cap/limit. So, if a jury awards $10,000,000 for pain and suffering, that will be reduced by the judge to $920,000.

Contact Waldorf, MD, Personal Injury Attorney Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions contact our office to speak to an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer at (301) 870-1200. We are Waldorf, MD Personal Injury lawyers. Our address is 2670 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD 20601.