Medical malpractice caps have been historically controversial in the state of Illinois. Numerous times through history, Illinois lawmakers have attempted to incur restrictions on the amount of compensation that a patient can receive as the result of a medical malpractice case, claiming there is a crisis of frivolous cases clogging the courts. These attempts have also been back by claims that these types of lawsuits are causing unnecessary added expenditures to health care facilities.
In each of these attempts to create medical malpractice caps—1975, 1985, 1995 and 2005—the Illinois Supreme Court has declared them unconstitutional, most recently in the year 2010 by the case LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. The law had put a limit on how much a plaintiff could receive as the result of a court case: $500,000 for non-economic damages—pain and suffering, anxiety, emotional damages—against a negligent health care professional and $1,000,000 against a health care facility. In response, the court ruled that the law violated the Illinois Constitution's "separation of powers" clause. In other words, the lawmakers interfered with the right of juries to determine fair damages in a medical malpractice case.
Although the debate regarding frivolous cases and medical malpractice caps continues, it's important to point out that the number of cases have decreased dramatically in recent years. The medical malpractice caps were designed to rid courts of "frivolous" medical malpractice lawsuits; however, there's nothing frivolous about them, especially in the eyes of the patient who has been injured. This misconception was debunked in a previous blog post regarding medical malpractice facts vs myths and in our video with Chicago personal injury attorney Mitchell Lipkin.
If you believe that mistakes were made by health care professionals, via testing, diagnosis, treatment or care, that lead to injury, please contact Lipkin & Apter. We'll work diligently to get you the compensation that you deserve.