As a Maryland victim, it’s important to learn what damages might be available to you in a lawsuit. Depending on a defendant’s actions, you might be eligible to receive punitive damages in Maryland.
Punitive damages can be awarded to Maryland victims if a defendant acted in a particularly grossly negligent way, causing a victim’s injuries. These damages seek to punish defendants for their actions and they are not available in every personal injury claim in Maryland. Proving the need for punitive damages can be challenging, and the necessary evidence changes depending on the cause for the claim. If you are eligible for punitive damages, you can recover a substantial sum, as Maryland does not impose a cap on punitive damages for victims of gross negligence.
Our attorneys are here to help Maryland victims get the justice they deserve against negligent parties. For a free case evaluation with the Maryland personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras, call today at (410) 694-7291.
What Are Punitive Damages in a Maryland Lawsuit?
In civil lawsuits, certain damages compensate victims for losses, while others seek to punish defendants for their actions. The latter description applies to punitive damages, which are only available to victims under certain circumstances in Maryland.
While damages are rare in Maryland, it is possible to recover them if your case meets certain criteria. Unlike other damages recovered in a lawsuit, punitive damages are not meant to compensate victims for emotional or financial losses. Instead, punitive damages exist to punish a defendant for gross negligence. Punitive damages are sometimes given victims in order to make an example out of a defendant and deter others from engaging in similarly negligent actions.
Because punitive damages are designed to punish certain behaviors, they are only awarded in specific situations. For example, punitive damages are less likely to be awarded in car accident claims but more likely to be awarded in sexual abuse, medical malpractice, or product liability claims. If a defendant is a well-known person or institution and demonstrated gross negligence against a victim, a Maryland judge or jury might award punitive damages to a victim.
If you’re unsure whether or not punitive damages will be available in your lawsuit, ask a Baltimore personal injury lawyer for clarification. Your attorney can assess your case and determine whether or not a defendant acted with intentional malice or in a particularly reckless manner. Remember, punitive damages are not always available in Maryland personal injury lawsuits. To get a clearer idea of all the damages, you can recover against a negligent party, speak to an attorney about your case.
How to Recover Punitive Damages in a Maryland Lawsuit
Proving the need for punitive damages in a Maryland lawsuit is not a simple task. Remember, punitive damages exist to punish defendants, not compensate victims. So, in addition to providing proof of damages to recover economic and non-economic damages, victims must go a step further and prove a defendant’s gross negligence to recover punitive damages.
Proving a defendant’s gross negligence or recklessness in a lawsuit can be challenging. Depending on your claim, an attorney may compile different evidence to demonstrate gross negligence. For example, suppose a manufacturer knowingly produced a defective product and sold it without warning buyers of the dangers, leading to your injuries. In that case, your attorney might investigate a defendant’s manufacturing processes and analyze your medical records to prove gross negligence and its impact on your life.
Or, suppose a negligent doctor acted outside of their owed duty of care and subjected you to an unnecessary procedure that led to your injuries. In that circumstance, a Maryland personal injury lawyer might speak with medical experts and review your medical records to establish a doctor’s gross negligence.
While it is fairly uncommon for punitive damages to arise out of car accident claims, it’s not impossible. If a negligent driver was driving under the influence during a crash, punitive damages might be at play. In that case, your attorney might use police reports and eyewitness statements to demonstrate a driver’s gross negligence.
The actual evidence and tactics used to prove gross negligence and recover punitive damages may vary, depending on the specific claim. The common denominator between claims that result in punitive damages is an experienced attorney. Your Ocean City personal injury lawyer can compile the necessary evidence to prove a defendant acted with intent or extreme recklessness, making you eligible for punitive damages.
Does Maryland Impose a Cap on Punitive Damages?
When approaching a Maryland lawsuit, it’s important for victims to be prepared for the damages they can recover. If punitive damages are in play, the exact amount you receive may be entirely subjective. Maryland does not impose a cap on punitive damages, meaning an awarded amount is entirely decided by a judge or jury.
There is no limit on punitive damages in Maryland. Generally, when a judge or jury is considering punitive damages, they will assess a defendant’s actions and their effect on your life.
Because there is no cap on punitive damages in Maryland, victims stand to recover substantial funds. Remember, punitive damages don’t compensate victims for losses, so there’s no exact dollar amount to refer to when awarding damages. Since there is no specified limit, your attorney can argue for substantial punitive damages based on a defendant’s actions.
Because judges and juries award punitive damages, they are available if a plaintiff chooses to go to trial in Maryland. Settling out of court will not result in punitive damages for Maryland victims.
Recovering punitive damages in a personal injury claim is rare, partially because victims may be unaware that they are available at all. For your best chance at recovering substantial punitive damages against a grossly negligent defendant, hire a skilled Wheaton personal injury lawyer.
Call Our Maryland Lawyers About Your Personal Injury Claim Today
If a negligent party caused your injuries and you need compensation, our attorneys can help. For a free case evaluation with the Ellicott City personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras, call today at (410) 694-7291.