Punitive Damages and Drunk Driving in Maryland - Lets Change the Law!
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Feb 16, 2011 in Personal Injury
Yesterday was Justice Day in Annapolis, Maryland and it was truly awesome. About 30 trial lawyers from the Maryland Association for Justice went to Annapolis and we visited our respective State Delegates and State Senators. I attended as a member of the MAJ Executive Committee and as the Immediate Past President of the Maryland Association for Justice.
Not only was it an opportunity for Maryland personal injury lawyers to get to know their legislators, but it was also very informative. I met with my new Montgomery County Maryland State Delegate Aruna Miller (a transportation engineer) and with Delegate Luis Simmons (who, by the way is a great trial lawyer). I tried to meet several other Legislators but they were in committee meetings.
The Maryland proposed Legislation that I hope passes this year includes House Bill 574 which would allow a jury to award punitive damages against certain high risk drunk drivers who cause injuries to people in Maryland car crashes. Right now punitive damages are not available against drunk drivers and the reality is that drunks just have their insurance companies pay for the damages they cause. This proposed bill would allow the jury to award punitive damages if the driver has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher or if a BAC of .08 and the driver was driving on a revoked license. Clear and convincing evidence would be required and also insurance companies could exclude coverage for punitive damages awarded.
To see a copy of this bill click here.
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