October 2008 Archives

Punitive Damages Against Drunk Drivers in Maryland

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It is hard to pick up the paper and not hear about a punitive damage award in another jurisdiction in a personal injury case.  But Maryland law is tough on punitive damage awards.  Maryland law has limited the availability of punitive damages in cases where the defendant's conduct is characterized by knowing and deliberate wrongdoing.  In other words, the defendant was not just negligent but acted with intend.

Drunk drivers in Maryland drive with a reckless disregard for the safety of other human beings, including children, who are on our highways.  But this conduct - while awful and punishable - does not rise to the level of malice for punitive damages in Maryland.