Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 11-108

Article - Courts and Judicial Proceedings

§ 11-108.

      (a)      (1)      In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

            (2)      (i)      "Noneconomic damages" means:

                        1.      In an action for personal injury, pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or other nonpecuniary injury; and

                        2.      In an action for wrongful death, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, companionship, comfort, protection, care, marital care, parental care, filial care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance, or education, or other noneconomic damages authorized under Title 3, Subtitle 9 of this article.

                  (ii)      "Noneconomic damages" does not include punitive damages.

            (3)      "Primary claimant" means a claimant in an action for the death of a person described under § 3-904(d) of this article.

            (4)      "Secondary claimant" means a claimant in an action for the death of a person described under § 3-904(e) of this article.

      (b)      (1)      In any action for damages for personal injury in which the cause of action arises on or after July 1, 1986, an award for noneconomic damages may not exceed $350,000.

            (2)      (i)      Except as provided in paragraph (3)(ii) of this subsection, in any action for damages for personal injury or wrongful death in which the cause of action arises on or after October 1, 1994, an award for noneconomic damages may not exceed $500,000.

                  (ii)      The limitation on noneconomic damages provided under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph shall increase by $15,000 on October 1 of each year beginning on October 1, 1995. The increased amount shall apply to causes of action arising between October 1 of that year and September 30 of the following year, inclusive.

            (3)      (i)      The limitation established under paragraph (2) of this subsection shall apply in a personal injury action to each direct victim of tortious conduct and all persons who claim injury by or through that victim.

                  (ii)      In a wrongful death action in which there are two or more claimants or beneficiaries, an award for noneconomic damages may not exceed 150% of the limitation established under paragraph (2) of this subsection, regardless of the number of claimants or beneficiaries who share in the award.

      (c)      An award by the health claims arbitration panel in accordance with § 3-2A-05 of this article for damages in which the cause of action arose before January 1, 2005, shall be considered an award for purposes of this section.

      (d)      (1)      In a jury trial, the jury may not be informed of the limitation established under subsection (b) of this section.

            (2)      (i)      If the jury awards an amount for noneconomic damages that exceeds the limitation established under subsection (b) of this section, the court shall reduce the amount to conform to the limitation.

                  (ii)      In a wrongful death action in which there are two or more claimants or beneficiaries, if the jury awards an amount for noneconomic damages that exceeds the limitation established under subsection (b)(3)(ii) of this section, the court shall:

                        1.      If the amount of noneconomic damages for the primary claimants equals or exceeds the limitation under subsection (b)(3)(ii) of this section:

                        A.      Reduce each individual award of a primary claimant proportionately to the total award of all of the primary claimants so that the total award to all claimants or beneficiaries conforms to the limitation; and

                        B.      Reduce each award, if any, to a secondary claimant to zero dollars; or

                        2.      If the amount of noneconomic damages for the primary claimants does not exceed the limitation under subsection (b)(3)(ii) of this section or if there is no award to a primary claimant:

                        A.      Enter an award to the primary claimant, if any, as directed by the verdict; and

                        B.      Reduce each individual award of a secondary claimant proportionately to the total award of all of the secondary claimants so that the total award to all claimants or beneficiaries conforms to the limitation.

      (e)      The provisions of this section do not apply to a verdict under Title 3, Subtitle 2A of this article for damages in which the cause of action arises on or after January 1, 2005.