In a Maryland personal injury action, the plaintiff may seek damages for economic and non-economic losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, among others. Unlike economic damages, which are based on objective evidence of the monetary loss and expenses incurred from an injury, non-economic damages are determined subjectively. In a July 1, 2020 decision, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals reviewed a jury verdict awarding the plaintiff $250,000 for non-economic damages in a car accident case.
The defendant in the case was involved in a motor vehicle accident while operating a truck owned by his employer. A piece of the truck’s drive shaft flew off in the accident and bounced into the road, striking the plaintiff’s windshield and landing in her passenger seat. The plaintiff was treated for a soft tissue sprain injuries. She was also treated for anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues related to the accident.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury suit claiming emotional distress, mental anguish, and pre-impact fright. At trial, the defendant sought to introduce evidence of the plaintiff’s personal history and prior assault conviction, arguing that those issues were the source of emotional distress for which she sought counseling. The trial court allowed the defense to cross-examine the plaintiff and other witnesses about other causes of her emotional distress, but excluded evidence of the conviction itself. Following deliberations, the jury awarded the plaintiff $250,000.00 for non-economic damages.