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.
That Maryland does not allow for punitive damages in bad faith claims is like my poor vertical jumping ability. I’m not that mad about it because it is all that I have ever known. I could never 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 cases we handle. But I definitely get “punitive damage envy” reading a study like this. Because it is a magnificent tool in keeping insurance companies honest.