Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Ilinois Declares Malpractice "Cap" Unconstitutional

On February 4, 2010, in the case of Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, Docket Nos. 105741 and 105745, the Supreme Court of Illinois struck down the cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, holding that the cap, which had limited damages to $500,000.00 for doctors and $1,000,000.00 for hospitals, is unconstitutional because the law violates "separation of powers by allowing lawmakers to interfere with a judge's ability to reduce verdicts." The Supreme Court noted that such a cap impedes a jury's right to establish reasonable damages.

Illinois joins Ohio, Alabama, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Kansas in declaring that caps on non-economic damages are unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals in Maryland has thus far rejected this argument and currently, damages for pain and suffering and other, non-economic harm are capped. The amount recoverable depends on the year in which the malpractice occurred. The cap is raised by $15,000.00 per year.

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