Late last night, the legislative session for Maryland in 2015 ended. One of the more newsworthy bills to pass in both the Senate and House is the Local Government Tort Claims Act, which increases the civil damages cap from $200,000 to $300,000 for harmed individuals and an increase in the total amount of damages in a single lawsuit from $500,000 to $600,000. Assuming Governor Hogan signs off on approval of the bill, this new law will take effect October 1, 2015.
This is certainly a step in the right direction for injured victims but still is not enough to fully compensate those suffering severe, debilitating injuries where medical costs can easily exceed one million dollars over the span of one’s life. With a cap at $600,000, injured victims will likely not be able to afford necessary medical care for the entirety of their lives. Prior to the official passage of the bill yesterday, Maryland Senator Bobby Zirkin made comments last week expressing his disappointment in the very small increase in the damages cap. Senator Zirkin said, “The $300,000 limit…would not even cover the medical expenses of many individuals harmed through the negligence of a government agency such as a police officer.”
As a Maryland personal injury law firm that has represented numerous clients in cases involving civil damages over the last twenty-five years, we are happy to see legislators recognize the need to increase the cap but also agree with Senator Zirkin in that the increase is not enough. Oftentimes, our injured clients have suffered catastrophic injuries and require expensive medical care and treatment for the rest of their lives. A maximum of $600,000 in a single lawsuit will not cover these expenses.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of the negligence of a local government employee and would like to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations in Columbia or throughout Maryland to meet with one of our attorneys for a free case evaluation, please call us at (855) 954-4141 or visit us online.