Articles Posted in Malpractice Caps

All too often the public does not hear about the detrimental effects tort reform has on the hundreds of thousands of victims whom are injured by medical malpractice each year. Tort reform puts a cap on compensation for victims of medical negligence. The Huffington Post points out the specific case of Lisa Gurley. A court found that the severe brain injury suffered at birth by Lisa’s son, Colin, was caused by a doctor’s negligence. Despite this finding, Nebraska tort reform prevented Lisa and her son from being adequately compensated for his injuries. In fact, they were compensated for just a tiny fraction of what it will cost to care for Colin for the remainder of his life. Now, Medicaid and the Nebraska Medically Handicap Children’s program pay for all of Colin’s care. It is grossly unfair that the taxpayers and Colin’s family are paying the astronomical cost of caring for a severely handicapped child while the doctor and the insurance company paid minimally for the medical negligence. The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin and Perconti are working to protect the rights of catastrophically injured children like Colin and to ensure that there continue to be adequate remedies for injured victims of medical negligence.

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court reached a landmark decision which ruled that medical malpractice caps are unconstitutional. The Illinois Supreme Court decided that patient’s rights were more prevalent than the needs of the insurance company. They overruled an Illinois statute that capped pain and suffering at $500,000 from a doctor and $1 million from a hospital for negligent medical care. However, many are critical of the important decision recently written.

The Chicago Sun-Times wrote that the health care costs in Illinois suffered a setback due to this decision. The article argues that health care costs are rising and that doctors are leaving this state due to insurance costs. The article also argues that neurosurgeons are leaving Illinois due to the large health care costs and the American Medical Association argues that medical malpractice insurance stabilized as a direct impact of the statue.

Yet, the paper overlooks a number of factors. First, those states with medical malpractice caps historically have a higher insurance rate than those without. Second there is no empirical evidence that doctors leave states without medical malpractice caps. Finally, and most importantly, 98,000 people die every year due to medical error. Advocates should be more concerned with diminishing medical errors than decreasing medical malpractice costs. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin and Perconti support the recent Illinois Supreme Court decision. It is not only a decision that coheres with the constitution, but is also one that supports patients’ rights.

Lately, the media has focused on how many of this nation’s Supreme Courts are committing judicial activism. However, the recent decision by the Illinois Supreme Court is evidence that the Illinois Supreme Court can make “non-activist” decisions. They did so by rightfully declaring that the 2005 cap on medical malpractice awards was unconstitutional. Not only does precedent require this decision, it also shows that the Supreme Court can make the right decision for Illinois. By declaring medical malpractice caps unconstitutional, they showed their commitment to patient’s rights. Families rely on court-determined compensation in order to rebuild their life after a devastating medical error. By instituting medical malpractice caps, the legislature tried to take away the judicial branches right to decide. Thankfully, the Illinois Supreme Court brought the decision back to the bench. To read more about the medical malpractice decision, please click the link.

The Illinois Supreme Court showed their support for patient’s rights today by ruling that medical malpractice caps violate the state’s Constitution. The ruling strikes down a statute that would limit awards for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. This would be the third time that the Illinois Supreme Court rejected medical malpractice caps. The court told lawmakers that they could not limit the amount of money that a medical malpractice victim could win in court. The Illinois Supreme Court found that the legislature had violated the separation of powers by infringing on the powers of the judiciary. The ruling revolves around the case of a 4 year old victim who was a victim of medical negligence. This medical error caused the girl’s brain damage at birth. This is a landmark case that will help the victims of medical malpractice throughout the state of Illinois. Now that malpractice caps have been lifted, the victims may receive funding that is needed to survive. The lawyers at Levin & Perconti applaud the Illinois Supreme Court for their support of patient’s rights. A victim deserves to be rightfully compensated for their injuries. To read reaction to the important decision, please click the link.

Today, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down a ruling in favor of patients and victims of medical malpractice throughout the state. According to a press release issued by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Court ruled that medical malpractice caps are unconstitutional in a lawsuit about a young girl who suffered a significant brain injury due to medical negligence. ITLA president, Peter J. Flowers, applauded the Court’s decision, noting it will shift the focus to “meaningful insurance reform” that will cut costs for doctors and patients and will give Illinois residents access to quality care.

The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti support the Court’s ruling. Medical malpractice laws were designed to protect patients injured through no fault of their own. These laws allow victims to seek fair compensation for a health care provider’s mistakes. We are pleased that the Court ruled to protect patients’ rights to hold doctors and hospitals accountable.

A woman went to the hospital to have her fallopian tubes tied and left with two punctured holes in her bladder. This near-death experience resulted in the woman having chronic pain and a flesh eating virus. The victim couldn’t move, speak and she had no muscle control. Her medical expenses for the process totaled $1.9 million. Medical malpractice lawyers state that if she hadn’t received the settlement she would be homeless or living in public housing. The woman fortunately filed the medical malpractice lawsuit in the state of Iowa where no medical malpractice caps exist, despite the lobbying of the insurance companies. While insurance companies boast that caps will lower the cost of health care, history shows that the medical malpractice caps do not lower insurance rates for doctors or patients. They simply make more money for insurance corporations. Statistics show that malpractice insurance profits are 24 percent higher in states with caps on malpractice damages than in states who do not have medical malpractice caps. Medical malpractice attorneys know the cost of bringing a case to trial, and due to this only take those that are meritorious. This helps dispute the insurance companies argument that medical malpractice suits are too commonplace and that caps are needed to decrease the costs. To learn more about the medical malpractice case, please click the link.

Last month the Illinois Supreme Court decided to delay its ruling on the constitutionality of the Illinois Medical Malpractice Act of 2005. This ruling would determine whether or not medical malpractice caps were legal in Illinois. The issue came before the Court in the 2007 Abigaile Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital case where a Cook County Circuit Court Judge deemed the caps unconstitutional. Attorney Frank Perrecone stated the caps do nothing but injure victims of malpractice claims. He stated that “it’s a one size-fits-all solution on noneconomic damages, and it will affect those victims of medical error who are most seriously injured.” Medical malpractice caps will do nothing to decrease health care costs and will simply injure victims of medical error even further. To look more at opinions about medical malpractice caps, check out the link.

The Vice President of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Greg Shevlin recently wrote a letter to the editor concerning the upcoming medical malpractice debate. Currently important legislation is facing the Illinois Supreme Court concerning medical malpractice caps. The case before the Illinois Supreme Court is about a little girl named Abigaile LeBron. This child’s life was forever altered as a result of the medical errors she encountered during her birth. However, there are many that want to cap the amount of damages she can receive in the name of brining down medical malpractice insurance rates. Caps have not lowered malpractice rates for doctors. The answer to fixing our health care situation is insurance reform, not taking away patients’ rights through medical malpractice caps. We must hold the insurance industry accountable for a health care system that is spiraling out of control. To learn more about how medical malpractice caps will injure patient’s rights, contact an Chicago personal injury lawyer.

Recently two health care attorneys called for the Illinois Supreme Court to uphold legislation that placed caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. However, it is obvious that much of their argument consists of long-debunked myths and unsubstantiated claims. The attorneys claimed that doctors are fleeing Illinois due to the malpractice caps. However, the AMA’s own figures show the number of doctors in Illinois steadily increased over the last decade. The numbers also show that there are more doctors per capita in states without caps than those with them. Most importantly, the attorneys fail to speak to the heart of the lawsuit under contention. The victim was born with severe brain damage as the result of medical negligence. The attorneys writing the article forget that Abigaile is a real girl, with real problems. Medical malpractice cases cannot be simplified to a math equation that places an arbitrary value on human suffering. The laws regarding medical malpractice caps must be flexible enough to meet every victim’s needs. This article was published in the Law Bulletin.

The Illinois Supreme Court did not rule on whether the state’s four-year-old medical malpractice reform law will survive, as it was expected to. The next batch of Supreme Court opinions is expected in mid-January. The ruling could directly impact the constitutionality of damage caps for doctors and hospitals. It is being watched closely by the health care industry and employers who see caps on damages as a way to tame rising health care costs. Twice before in state history Illinois lawmakers have adopted caps, and both times the Illinois Supreme Court nixed them. Cook County Circuit Judge Diane Larsen decided that caps on malpractice awards violated the Illinois Constitution’s “separation of powers” clause, stating the legislation can’t interfere with the right of juries and judges to determine fair damages. The first case to test the law is that of a 13-month-year-old girl who suffered severe brain injury during birth. The lawsuit charged the hospital, her doctor and her nurse with medical negligence. Medical malpractice caps do nothing but further injure an already distraught victim. To learn more about the delayed ruling, please click the link.

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers