The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday struck down limits on jury awards in medical malpractice cases passed by the Legislature four years ago amid spiking liability costs for medical providers.Another blow to health care tort reform...
The court ruled that the caps on pain and suffering and other non-economic damages — $500,000 per case for doctors and $1 million for hospitals — are unconstitutional.
The court’s opinion upholds a 2007 ruling by a Cook County Circuit Court judge determining that the law violated the Illinois Constitution’s “separation of powers” clause, essentially finding that lawmakers interfered with the right of juries to determine fair damages.
It’s the third time the state’s high court has quashed limits on medical malpractice awards, having tossed out similar laws in 1976 and 1997.
The ruling is a blow to physicians, hospitals and malpractice insurers, who successfully argued in 2005 that frivolous lawsuits and runaway jury verdicts were driving up insurance rates and forcing physicians to leave the state.