If your doctor failed to provide you with the level of care that they should have, you may have sustained injuries due to medical malpractice. You have the right to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your harms as a result of the medical malpractice. However, you should be aware of the limits on your potential recovery.
Maryland law prevents medical malpractice victims from receiving non-economic damages above a certain threshold in a lawsuit. For cases arising in 2021, that threshold is set at $845,000. Non-economic damages refer to the consequences of the pain and suffering that the medical malpractice causes in its victim. the cap should affect how you evaluate settlement offers ahead of your court decision.
Medical malpractice victims deserve every penny they are entitled to under Maryland law. Rice, Murtha & Psoras want to help in your recovery effort. Our diligent Maryland medical malpractice attorneys offer complementary first appointments for you to discuss your case and evaluate your options. Schedule today by calling our offices at (410) 694-7291.
Cap on Non-Economic Damages for Medical Malpractice Cases in Maryland
Many states have passed restrictions on certain areas of available damages for a medical malpractice lawsuit. the Maryland medical malpractice damages cap was enacted in 2005. This state statutory cap applies only to non-economic damages for successful medical malpractice claims.
Non-economic damages are those consequences of an injury which cannot be tallied on a spreadsheet, such as hospital bills. Typically, non-economic damages are referenced together as “pain and suffering” damages. This category is meant to reflect the harms that the victim will suffer in their personal life and psychological state as a result of their ordeal.
For example, if a surgeon performs an operation using reckless techniques, the patient could be left with chronic pain as a result. This pain may cause the patient to become more irritable or hinder their ability to engage in recreational activities that they once enjoyed. Non-economic damages would compensate this victim for their loss of enjoyment of life and harm to their personal relationships.
In Maryland, the cap on damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits alters per year. For instance, in the case of an injury that occurs in 2021, the cap for a single plaintiff’s recovery would be $845,000. Per the state statute, the non-economic damages cap increases by $15,000 with each passing year. In other words, if your cause of action (the malpractice) arose in 2019, the non-economic damage cap would be $815,000.
Special Cap for Medical Malpractice Damages with Multiple Victims
Where the same instance of medical malpractice results in more than one victim seeking damages, Maryland enforces an additional limitation. the total of non-economic damages for all actions on the same instance of malpractice may not exceed 125% of the yearly cap, no matter how many claimants, beneficiaries, or defendants are named. To put it another way, if there are two victims of the same medical malpractice incident that occurred in 2021, and their combined non-economic damages exceeds $1,056,250 (or 125% of $845,000), they will not be able to recover as much as they might otherwise be owed.
Is There a Cap on Economic Damages in Maryland?
The Maryland medical malpractice cap does not apply to economic damages. These are the financial consequences that are directly calculable as a result of the injuries. Additional medical care, lost wages, and the cost of modifications to the home made necessary by the injuries are all types of economic damages in a Maryland medical malpractice case. Your lawyer can help you estimate the value of your claim based on these figures.
Other Limits Affecting Medical Malpractice Cases in Maryland
If you and your lawyer estimate that your medical malpractice damages exceed $30,000, you will face certain reporting requirements in order to pursue your case. the first step is to file a claim with Maryland’s Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, rather than going directly to court. Your filing must be accompanied by an expert certificate, wherein a medical professional must assert that they have reviewed your case and found that your care provider failed to meet the appropriate standard of care. Your lawyer can help you obtain an expert certificate and file your claim correctly and timely.
You must file with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office even if you wish to go straight to court, as opposed to arbitration. You can decline arbitration by filing a written waiver within two months of the defendant’s filing of their own expert certificates. Once you waive arbitration, you have another two months to file in court.
These deadlines and requirements may seem overwhelming. That is why you want an experienced Baltimore medical malpractice attorney who is familiar with these procedures and can ensure that your case is handled efficiently and discretely.
Effect of Medical Malpractice Damage Cap on Settlement Offers
The State of Maryland’s medical malpractice damage caps do not directly restrict how much a victim can seek in a settlement. However, that does not mean that settlements will exceed the caps. Defendants (or more likely, their insurance companies) in medical malpractice suits don’t offer settlements out of the goodness of their heart. By offering cash up front, they are attempting to reduce their total liability for the consequences of their malpractice. Since they are aware that state caps will affect a decision on damages in court, they will tailor their settlement offers to reflect that.
Never go into a settlement negotiation with an insurance company without qualified legal representation. A good lawyer will be experienced in evaluating settlement offers and can explain what you stand to gain by accepting, countering, or pursuing your case further into court.
Get Answers to Your Questions About Maryland’s Current Medical Malpractice Caps Today
The reliable Harford County medical malpractice lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras offer free consultations with potential clients. Get the straight advice on your possible lawsuit today by calling us at (410) 694-7291.