The Annotated Code of Maryland, Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, establishes various caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice and civil actions depending on the type of action and when the cause of action arose. The caps generally increase by $15,000 a year.
In an action for damages for personal injury or death (excluding medical malpractice), the cap is $815,000 for causes of action arising on or after October 1, 2015, but the cap increases to $830,000 for causes of action arising on or after October 1, 2016 and increases by $15,000 on each October 1 thereafter. This limitation applies in a personal injury action to each direct victim of tortious conduct and all persons who claim injury through that victim.
In a wrongful death action in which there are two or more claimants or beneficiaries, an award of noneconomic damages may not exceed 150% of the applicable cap, regardless of the number of claimants or beneficiaries. The cap applies separately to a wrongful death claim and a survival action.
Maryland’s Cap On Noneconomic Damages In Medical Malpractice Cases
For medical malpractice actions, the cap was frozen at $650,000 for causes of action arising between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2008, and increases by $15,000 each year beginning on January 1, 2009. For causes of action arising in 2016, the cap is $770,000 and increases by $15,000 on each October 1 thereafter. The cap applies in the aggregate to all claims for personal injury and wrongful death arising from the same medical injury, regardless of the number of claims, claimants, plaintiffs, beneficiaries, or defendants. If there is a wrongful death action in which there are two or more claimants or beneficiaries, the total amount awarded may not exceed 125% of the cap, or $962,500 in 2016.
Proposal For Maryland No-Fault Birth Injury Fund For Claims Arising From Birth-Related Neurological Injuries
A pending bill in the Maryland General Assembly (House Bill 377) would severely, and many would argue unfairly, limit the right to seek and receive compensation for birth-related neurological injuries. Under the proposed law, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) would evaluate and have exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether a claim involves an eligible birth-related neurological injury and the nature and amount of compensation and benefits to be provided to the claimant on the basis of the evidence presented in a contested administrative hearing (no jury trial).
If the OAH determines an infant has sustained a birth-related neurological injury, the claimant may be awarded one or more benefits and compensation to be paid or provided from the fund. Specifically, an infant may be awarded: actual lifetime expenses for qualified heath care costs, limited to reasonable charges prevailing in the same community for similar treatment of injured persons when the treatment is paid for by the injured person, excluding specified expenses; up to $500,000, payable in periodic payments or as a lump sum to the injured infant or to the parents or legal guardians of the injured infant for the benefit of the injured infant; loss of earnings to be paid in periodic payments beginning on the eighteenth birthday of the infant; alternatively a funeral payment of $25,000 if the infant dies before age 18; and/or funding for reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the filing and prosecution of a claim to assert eligibility and for compensation and benefits (including reasonable attorney’s fees on an hourly basis, subject to the approval and award of the administrative law judge). An award of expenses requires the immediate payment of expenses previously incurred and that future expenses be paid as incurred.
The rights and remedies under the proposed law would exclude and supplant all other rights and remedies of the infant, personal representative of the infant, and parents, dependents, or next of kin of the infant arising out of or related to the injury to the infant, including claims of emotional distress related to the infant’s injury.
Of the total 67,356 births in Maryland annually, approximately 7 qualifying infants are born each year.
If you or a loved one suffered a birth injury in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Maryland birth injury lawyer, or a birth injury lawyer in your state, who may investigate your birth injury claim for you and represent you in a birth injury case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find birth injury attorneys in your state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.