Can Punitive Damages Be Pursued in a Maryland Injury Case?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Personal Injury Published on October 19, 2020 and updated on March 15, 2022.

punitive damagesThe majority of personal injury cases are based on the legal theory of negligence. In other words, one party failed to uphold a duty of care and this breach of care directly resulted in an injury to another.

However, there are times when the at-fault party’s negligence is exceptionally outrageous and outside the scope of reasonable behavior. For instance, driving while intoxicated could be considered gross negligence, or the most serious form of negligence. When this happens, punitive damages may be available to pursue, but are difficult to obtain without an experienced lawyer by your side.

Our legal team discusses punitive damages in greater detail below. Get answers to your legal questions and more during a free, no-obligation consultation. We charge nothing up front to discuss your options.

The Purpose of Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, otherwise known as exemplary damages, are over and beyond what is intended to make a victim whole again. These damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for his or her outrageous conduct and deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.

Generally, punitive damages may be awarded in certain types of cases, such as:

  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Medical malpractice cases, if the victim becomes severely or permanently injured
  • Defective product claims, specifically class action lawsuits
  • Wrongful death cases

Punitive Damages in Maryland

Punitive damages in Maryland are rare, but may be awarded as long as it can be proven with clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault party acted with actual malice. State law defines actual malice as “deliberate wrongdoing, evil or wrongful motive, intent to injure, ill will or fraud.”

This can be challenging to establish as most accidents are caused by negligence, not intent. If you believe that the at-fault party was intentionally negligent, or otherwise malicious in nature, it is in your best interest to consult with a Maryland personal injury lawyer from our firm to review your situation and evaluate whether punitive damages may be available to pursue.

How Much Are Punitive Damages Worth?

The amount of punitive damages awarded is up to the court’s discretion. These damages could be issued in addition to compensatory damages awarded, such as compensation to help cover medical costs, loss of wages or pain and suffering.

However, it is important to note that a judge or jury can still decide to deny punitive damages in a case. This is true regardless of how overwhelming the evidence may be in support of the at-fault party having acted deliberately, with evil or wrongful motive to injure.

If punitive damages are awarded, the amount could be three times, five times or ten times as much as the compensatory damages.

Reach Out Today for More Information

At Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices, we have helped many of our clients over the past three decades obtain maximum compensation for their damages. We know what it takes to hold the at-fault party legally responsible, especially in cases where he or she exhibited behavior that was grossly negligent.

An initial consultation with a lawyer from our firm is 100 percent complimentary and confidential. You are under no obligation to take legal action but if you do decide to hire us, we are prepared to help. We charge nothing up front for our services and no fees while we work on your case.

We are here to help. Call to schedule a free consultation. 410-907-3957