If you were injured in an accident, it probably hurt. A lot. When you go to court to try and sue those responsible for your injuries, chances are that you would like to be compensated for how much your injury hurt. On top of that, you might have felt distressed due to your injuries, and you should get compensation for that, too. Fortunately, courts allow plaintiffs to recover damages not just for concrete things like medical bills but also for pain, suffering, and mental anguish.
You can include claims for pain and suffering in lawsuits and insurance claims. Our lawyers are ready to work with you to argue for the most damages possible for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries. We are experienced attorneys ready to fight for you in court to get you the compensation you are owed.
Call (410) 694-7291 to have the Maryland personal injury lawyers from Rice, Murtha & Psoras review your case.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages in Maryland?
In law, the compensation for pain and suffering is considered separate from monetary compensation for hospital bills and other damages. Juries are always instructed in personal injury cases that they can award damages for pain and suffering. Maryland defines non-economic damages for personal injury lawsuits in Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 11-108 as “pain, suffering,… physical impairment, … or other nonpecuniary injury”. A “nonpecuniary injury” means any injury that does not have a dollar amount attached to it. For example, a hospital bill costs a certain amount of money displayed on an invoice or bill. On the other hand, the value of the pain from a broken bone is not displayed on any bill or invoice.
When people hear the term “pain and suffering,” physical pain is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Broken bones, bruises, and cuts and scrapes can all hurt a great deal. That being said, it is not an easy task to assign a monetary value to physical pain. Some considerations that might go into figuring out how much physical pain is worth are the duration of the pain or the pain’s impact on your daily life. You and our Ocean City personal injury lawyers will have to come up with an amount you are asking for because of your pain and then convince the jury that it is worth that much.
Mental anguish damages take into account the distress you felt due to your injuries when they happened and the distress you are likely to feel in the future. Describing your experience to the jury can help support what you are asking for in damages for mental anguish.
Disfigurement is often the result of a physical injury. Damages can be paid if you are upset or embarrassed by permanent disfigurement. The surgeries and other medical treatments to treat disfigurement would fall under economic damages, but the feelings of distress from the disfigurement itself would fall under pain and suffering damages.
The “Eggshell Skull Rule” and Pain and Suffering Damages in Maryland
The “eggshell skull rule” is the idea in law that you take the plaintiff as they are. This principle means that you have to use the resulting injuries and distress from that specific plaintiff rather than what another plaintiff or the “average” plaintiff would have experienced. The strange name for the rule comes from an imaginary scenario where the plaintiff has a skull made of eggshell. Such a plaintiff would get much more seriously injured than a regular human being, but the law would still compensate them for those more serious injuries.
All this is to say that pain and suffering damages will be unique to each plaintiff, and the defendant is not really in a position to contest how distressed or in pain a plaintiff is.
Limits to Pain and Suffering Damages in Maryland
Maryland law puts a limit on how much you are able to recover for pain and suffering damages in a lawsuit. Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art.,§ 11-108(b)(2)(i) limits recovery for non-economic damages to $500,000. However, that amount has increased by $15,000 every year since October 1, 1995. So, in the beginning of2023, the maximum amount will be $920,000. This amount will increase to $935,000 in October, 2023.
You should not be dissuaded from asking for a large amount for damages based on your pain and suffering because of this rule. It is ultimately up to the jury to decide how much your injuries are worth, and they cannot be informed about this cap when making their decision. They will probably use any number you suggest as a baseline to come up with the amount of pain and suffering damages you are actually awarded. Therefore, you and our lawyers should decide on an amount of pain and suffering damages that makes sense for your case.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages in Maryland
There is no set way to calculate pain and suffering damages since they are unique to each plaintiff. However, two methods are common in the state.
One way to calculate pain and suffering damages is to base it on your economic damages. The idea is that your pain, suffering, mental anguish, and other intangible damages are worth much more than the costs of surgeries and other medical expenses. Usually, this method uses a multiple of your economic damages (e.g., double or triple) as damages for pain and suffering.
The other primary way of calculating pain and suffering damages is to come up with a “daily pain amount” with your lawyer. Essentially, you and our lawyers will come up with a value for your daily pain and suffering and for a total amount that is based on how many days you ultimately are left dealing with your injuries.
The best way to calculate pain and suffering damages will differ for each plaintiff.
Have Our Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers Review Your Case
The Baltimore personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha, and Psoras offer free case reviews at (410) 694-7291.