Two bills that are currently pending in the Maryland House of Delegates would affect Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The first would increase the cap in cases of catastrophic injury, while the second would reduce the cap on non-economic damages cases in all medical malpractice cases in the state. Learn more about these bills in our blog.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Cap
Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages is $755,000 in 2015, and increases by $15,000 annually. In cases of wrongful death, the cap is $943,750. The cap is imposed based on the year the incident occurred. So for example, if the medical malpractice in question occurred in 2014, the cap would be $740,000.
House Bill 398 would triple the cap on non-economic damages for catastrophic injury claims. The bill defines a catastrophic injury as a permanent injury caused by:
- Spinal cord injury associated with severe paralysis of an arm, a leg, or the trunk or loss of continence of the bowel or bladder.
- Amputation of an arm, a hand, a foot, or a leg involving the effective loss of use of that appendage.
- Severe brain or closed-head injury.
- Loss of reproductive organs that results in an inability to procreate.
- Major burns as classified under guidelines issued by the American Burn Association.
If HB 398 were made law, it would take effect for incidents that occurred after October 1, 2015.
The House Judiciary Committee is considering HB 817, another bill concerning the Maryland medical malpractice cap, but one that would have the opposite effect. This bill would reduce the cap on non-economic damages in all cases of medical malpractice in Maryland to $500,000.
To voice your opinion on either of these pieces of legislation, you can visit the Maryland General Assembly’s website and click on Voice My Opinion.