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Maryland Workers' Compensation Attorneys > Blog > Personal Injury > Can You Recover Punitive Damages in a Maryland Personal Injury Case?

Can You Recover Punitive Damages in a Maryland Personal Injury Case?


Getting injured is a devastating and traumatizing experience. Although compensatory damages are often awarded in personal injury cases, many people wonder if they can recover punitive damages as well.

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Maryland, you need to understand the factors that determine whether punitive damages are awarded and how they differ from compensatory damages. Our Maryland personal injury attorneys at Berman | Sobin | Gross LLP help those who were injured because of someone else’s fault recover the compensation they deserve, including punitive damages.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages refer to monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit as a punishment for the defendant’s behavior. These damages are also designed to deter others from committing similar acts in the future. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and are awarded in addition to compensatory damages.

Punitive Damages vs. Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are awarded to injured parties to compensate for actual damages incurred due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the injury. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are awarded to punish the defendant for their malicious or intentional actions. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiff for expenses related to the injury.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Cases in Maryland?

In Maryland, punitive damages are only awarded in personal injury cases if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant acted with “actual malice.” The law defines malice as having a wrongful motive, ill will, intent to injure, defraud, or committing conscious and deliberate wrongdoing. If the plaintiff can prove this, they may be awarded punitive damages as well as compensatory damages.

However, it is worth mentioning that judges have the discretion to award punitive damages. In other words, it means that a judge can deny punitive damages in your personal injury case regardless of how convincing the evidence of actual malice is. Having a skilled attorney on your side is essential to ensure that you can secure a punitive damages award.

How Much Are Punitive Damages Worth?

The amount of punitive damages awarded to a plaintiff in Maryland personal injury cases is not limited by any set formula. Instead, the amount of punitive damages is usually determined by factors such as the severity of the defendant’s conduct, the degree of harm suffered by the plaintiff, and the defendant’s financial resources.

In general, the goal of punitive damages is to impose a penalty on the defendant that is large enough to deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future. Under MD Cts & Jud Pro Code § 10-913, evidence of the defendant’s financial means is not admissible until a finding of liability.

Discuss the Availability of Punitive Damages with an Attorney

Our skilled personal injury attorneys at Berman | Sobin | Gross LLP can help you evaluate your case and determine whether punitive damages may be an option. Seek legal advice today to discuss the facts of your case. Get a free case review by calling 800-248-3352.

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