Court Examines Damages in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

In most medical malpractice cases, the defendant will contest both liability and damages. In some instances, though, the defendant will concede fault but will argue that the plaintiff failed to adequately support their request for damages or that certain compensation should not be granted. Recently, a Maryland court addressed the issue of whether a plaintiff should be able to make a per diem request in closing arguments when the defendant had been precluded from presenting evidence regarding the plaintiff’s medical bills or lost wages at trial, ultimately ruling that the request was proper. If you were hurt by a negligent doctor, it is smart to talk to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer about what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, a former inmate, sued the defendant, a company that provides medical services to correctional facilities, for misdiagnosing his fractured wrist, which later required extensive surgery. The defendant admitted liability, and the case went to trial on damages. The plaintiff sought non-economic damages only, and the court granted his motion to exclude evidence of medical bills and lost wages. During the trial, the plaintiff’s expert testified that the delay in treatment caused a permanent injury.

Allegedly, during the closing argument, the plaintiff’s lawyer requested an award of $100 per day for the plaintiff’s remaining life expectancy, which the court allowed over the defendant’s objection. The defendant filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that the plaintiff’s per diem argument should not have been permitted, and if allowed, it should have been accompanied by a cautionary instruction. The court denied the motion, and a final judgment of $770,000 was entered against the defendant. The defendant appealed.

Damages in Maryland Medical Malpractice Claims

On appeal, the defendant argued that the court erred in permitting the plaintiff’s attorney to make a per diem request in his closing argument. The court disagreed and affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that per diem refers to a specific amount of money requested per day. Further, the court noted that the use of per diem arguments is allowed in Maryland.

The court also rejected the defendant’s argument that the plaintiff’s per diem request was arbitrary and unsupported by evidence. Finally, the court disagreed with the defendant’s assertion that they were denied a meaningful opportunity to rebut the plaintiff’s argument by not being allowed to introduce evidence of his economic damages, noting that there are other effective rebuttals and that medical bills are not relevant to claims for noneconomic damages.

Consult a Skilled Maryland Attorney

People injured by incompetent medical care may be able to recover a variety of damages in medical malpractice claims, including compensation for economic and non-economic losses. If you were hurt by the recklessness of a physician, it is smart to consult an attorney about your potential claims. The skilled Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can advise you of your rights and aid you in seeking the best legal result possible under the facts of your case. You can contact us via our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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