Illinois passed medical malpractice legislation two years ago that limited the amount a person could recover for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice lawsuit. There have been no challenges to date because only cases filed since the change would be affected and most of these lawsuits have not gone to trial, but this is about to change.
A lawsuit filed in Cook County by Jeffrey Goldberg on behalf of a family whose child suffered severe brain damage at birth, will challenge the caps and argue the limits do not allow for sufficient recovery.
The caps that were signed into law two years ago state that a person cannot recover non-economic damages beyond $500,000 from a doctor and $1 million from a hospital. People who are pro-tort reform argue that this change in the law has brought insurance premiums down and brought doctors back to Illinois. While premiums may have decreased, it has nothing to do with lower verdicts. These caps were passed two years ago, which means they only affect cases that were filed after the governor signed the law. Most of those cases have not gone to trial yet so verdicts paid to plaintiffs have not taken into consideration these caps.
Insurance companies are the cause of increased premiums, not large verdicts. Victims of medical negligence should not have to pay for their doctors mistakes. Hopefully, in the near future Jeffrey Goldberg’s case will help to overturn the current Illinois medical malpractice caps.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.