Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, may be awarded in a Maryland personal injury lawsuit to compensate injured plaintiffs and their families for intangible losses. Damages for pain and suffering, although not easily quantified by a dollar amount, can rest on the credibility of the plaintiff’s testimony, as in a January 6, 2021, personal injury case. After the jury in the case awarded $350,000 to the plaintiff for non-economic damages, the defendant filed a motion to reduce the judgment. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed the matter to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.
The plaintiff in the case was dining at a restaurant owned by the defendant. As she was eating a nacho appetizer, she bit into an industrial metal screw that had separated from the machine in the kitchen that tosses tortilla chips. The pain was immediate and searing. She incurred injuries to the upper left part of her mouth that required two root canals and three crowns.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury suit against the defendant, seeking damages to compensate her for her medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The defendant conceded that it owed the plaintiff a duty of care and that it had breached this duty. Before trial, the plaintiff withdrew her claims for past medical expenses and lost wages, leaving non-economic damages as the only component of her requested damages. The sole issues for the jury, therefore, were whether the screw proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and if so, the amount, if any, of non-economic damages to award the plaintiff. After a three-day trial, the jury returned a verdict of $350,000.