Maryland allows auto accident victims to recover for non-economic damages. These are injuries that cannot be easily calculated, and they include items as stated in the typical jury instructions:
In an action for damages in a personal injury case, you shall consider the following:
- The personal injuries sustained and their extent and duration;
- The effect such injuries have on the overall physical and mental health and well-being of the plaintiff;
- The physical pain and mental anguish suffered in the past and which with reasonable probability may be expected to be experienced in the future;
- The disfigurement and humiliation or embarrassment associated with such disfigurement;
- The medical and other expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred in the past and which with reasonable probability may be expected in the future;
- The loss of earnings in the past and such earnings or reduction in earning capacity which with reasonable probability may be expected in the future.
In awarding damages in this case you must itemize your verdict or award to show the amount intended for:
- The medical expenses incurred in the past;
- The medical expenses reasonably probable to be incurred in the future;
- The loss of earnings and/or earning capacity incurred in the past;
- The loss of earnings and/or earning capacity reasonably probable to be expected in the future;
- The “Noneconomic Damages” sustained in the past and reasonably probable to be sustained in the future. All damages which you may find for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, or other nonpecuniary injury are “Noneconomic Damages”;
- Other damages.
It is a relatively simple matter to show what the economic damages are–lost wages and medical expenses can often be calculated with exactitude. But non-economic damages are fuzzy–their value will depend on two things–how well the auto accident victim testifies at trial, and the feelings of the decision-maker (either a judge or jury).