The Daily Record reports that the Maryland Court Of Appeals is reviewing whether or not caps on non-economic damages for medical malpractice rewards are constitutional. Currently, a medical malpractice victim in Maryland cannot receive more than $725,000 in non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of a loved one. The cap was created in 1986.
Now, however, a case involving the drowning death of a 5-year-old boy will re-open the issue of Maryland medical malpractice caps for the first time in over a decade. The last time Maryland considered changing its medical malpractice damages caps was in 1995 when the court upheld the law. Only one judge that took part in the 1995 decision about malpractice caps is still on the bench today.
In the case that will be heard early in 2010, Maryland toddler Connor Freed drowned while playing in the Crofton Country Club swimming pool. The accident, which took place in the summer of 2006, ended with the Anne Arundel County jury awarding the boy’s parents with $2 million in damages. However, the medical malpractice cap shrunk the compensation to $1.3 million.
The parent’s medical malpractice lawyer argued that Connor went through conscious pain and suffering before he died. Many, including medical malpractice lawyers and the families of those who have been subject to pain and suffering due to medical malpractice, hope that the court will take a close look at how medical malpractice caps affect families.