The Illinois Supreme Court determined that a 2005 Illinois law limiting damages awards in medical malpractice cases violates the state constitution earlier this month. The law limited non-economic damages such as pain suffering and not actual damages such as present and future medical bills. The case before the high Court, LeBron v. Gottleib Memorial Hospital, involved a young girl that suffered a severe brain injury as she was delivered. The Court determined that a limit on the amount that a jury could award in such a case violated the separation of powers clause of the Illinois Constitution. The Court found that the caps violated a jury’s right to determine damages.
Such non-economic caps are legislatively created to specifically target medical malpractice claims. Interestingly, there are no caps on non-economic damages in other catastrophic injury cases such as drunk-driving car accidents. However, many do not realize that medical malpractice is the leading cause of injury in the United States accounting for about 180,000 injuries per year or three times the number of those injured by drunk drivers. The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for those injured by hospital or doctor negligence.
The Klest Law Firm has almost thirty years of experience handling medical malpractice claims. To speak with an attorney regarding the Supreme Court decision or any other matter related to Illinois medical malpractice, please click here.