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Medical Malpractice Caps Argued in Illinois Supreme Court

Lawyers argued that a 2005 law limiting the amount of money juries may award in medical malpractice cases unfairly targets those most seriously injured who deserve the most compensation in the Illinois Supreme Court. Proponents of the law asked the court not to limit what they called lawmakers’ attempt to stem a health care crisis. The current law restricts awards on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering to $500,000 against doctors and $1 million against hospitals. It was aimed at lowering medical insurance rates blamed for driving physicians out of the state. A trial court last year ruled that the law violates the Constitution’s separation of powers clause by allowing the General Assembly to restrict deliberations by judges and juries. The law not only limits damages, it gives state regulators more power to review and change malpractice insurance rates and tougher oversight to doctors to punish mistakes. Law professor stated that laws cannot differentiate between levels of injury, which Illinois’ does. He argues that the law must be nullified because caps affect severely injured patients. To read the full story, click here.