A punitive damage award for an insurance company’s bad faith? It is a foreign concept for Maryland lawyers. But not for much of the rest of the country. A recent Jury Verdict Research study found that over the last twelve years, 32% of bad faith verdicts throughout the country led to a punitive damage award. The average bad faith punitive damage award was $6,951,219; the median award was $1,000,000.
The fact that Maryland does not allow for punitive damages in bad faith claims is sort of like my poor vertical jumping ability. I’m generally not that mad about it because it is all that I have ever known. I have never been able to jump high (I could never even dunk a tennis ball) and I’ve never practiced where there was a potential for any real punitive damages in the types of cases we handle. But I definitely get “punitive damage envy” reading a study like this. Because it is a great tool in keeping insurance companies honest.