Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Medical Malpractice Law Ruled Unconstitutional by Illinois Supreme Court

On Thursday, February 4, 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a law that limited damages awarded to victims of Medical Malpractice.  The law in question was signed into place in 2005 by former Governor Rod Blagojevich. and limited recoveries for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages to $500,000 in cases against doctors and $1,000,000 against hospitals.

James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association claimed: "Today's court decision threatens to undo all that Illinois patients and physicians have gained under the cap, including greater access to healthcare, lower medical liability rates and increased competition among medical liability insurers."  Despite this entreaty, the $500,000 and $1,000,000 recovery caps mentioned above did not adequately compensate all patients who receive negligent treatment.

While the debate goes on in Springfield as to whether lawsuits affect the quality and costs of medical care,  on a case by case basis, it is now in the jury's hands to decide the proper damages against doctors and hospitals.  This is because the Illinois Supreme Court held this decision should be in the jury's hands rather than lawmakers:

"The law violates the state's separation-of-powers clause between the branches of government by allowing lawmakers to interfere with a jury's right to determine damages.",0,1406171.story