In personal injury cases in Maryland, the victim will be compensated for both economic and non-economic damages, along with punitive damages. Economic damages refer to past and future medical expenses and lost wages along with property damages in the case of auto accidents. On the other hand, non-economic damages are pain and suffering, pain and suffering refer to all physical pain, mental anguish and emotional distress the victim suffered as a result of the accident they were involved in. Punitive damages are damages meant to punish the at-fault individual if their reckless behavior caused the accident.
Unlike economic damages, in Maryland, pain and suffering are difficult to calculate as there are no specific amounts that can compensates for the damages suffered.
Pain and suffering includes the inability to perform otherwise daily and ordinary tasks such as doing laundry, loss of enjoyment of life or any negative emotion suffered as a result of the accident such as anxiety, fear, fear or humiliation. These factors will all be considered when determining the value of pain and suffering to be awarded. Moreover the plaintiff must be able to provide sufficient evidence, this evidence includes documents such as medical reports, a doctor’s opinion on the pain the victim suffered, the victim’s description of the pain they suffered, the medications prescribed to treat the victim’s physical pain and or emotional distress and testimonies from relevant witnesses such as medical experts.
In the state of Maryland, the statute of limitations for pain and suffering claims is 3 years for most civil claims and 1 year for assault claims. Moreover, a cap has been set in 1994 on the amount that can be recovered in pain and suffering damages, this cap was originally $500,000. However it varies the October of every year in order to account for inflation and as of October 1st 2018, is at $860,000.
Most insurance companies have two formulas that they may employ in order to approximately calculate the amount of pain and suffering an individual may be entitled to collect.
The first is the multiplier method, which consists of taking all of the economic damages and multiplying them by the multiplier, a number between 1 and 5. The more severe the injury suffered is, the larger the multiplier will be.
The second is the daily rate ‘per diem’ method, this method consists of multiplying a set daily amount meant to account for the pain the victim lived in during the time of his injury, the amount usually consists of the individuals daily earnings. This amount is then multiplied by the amount of days the victim was injured for.
However, both methods have their flaws, the multiplier method is criticized for its arbitrary multipliers and its potentially misleading results, while the per diem method is not suitable for long-term injuries.
It is worth noting that no matter how severe the injuries sustained are, if the victim is found to be partially responsible for the accident, they may be prohibited from collecting any damages whatsoever according to Maryland’s contributory negligence rule.