Illinois personal injury lawyers that represent medical malpractice victims will be ale to seek justice and full compensation for their clients now that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases violates the Illinois Constitution. Under the law victims could be awarded no more than $500,000 in non-economic damages against doctors and $1 million against hospitals. Non-economic damages are damages usually called "pain and suffering" which compensate for disability, disfigurement, ongoing and past symptoms and hardship.
Of course, the AMA and other tort reform groups immediately criticize the decision as damaging the quality and access to health care for all. It is easy to deny victims justice through "tort reform" until you have been one, I guarantee, none of those proponents have ever had a family member or close friend who has been a victim of malpractice, because their tune would change very quickly.
The Court made a very logical and reasonable decision concluding that the caps violated the separation of powers clause of the Illinois Constitution because the legislature cannot make case-by-case determinations, separations of powers concerns would be violated by the “legislative attempt to mandate legal conclusions.”
There are already mechanisms to prevent frivolous lawsuits and excessive awards through judiciary powers on a case by case basis, they are called, motions to dismiss, summary judgments, a jury, remittitur, etc ...
The courts are constitutionally empowered, and indeed obligated, to reduce excessive verdicts where appropriate in light of the evidence adduced in a particular case. But reducing damages by operation of law, without regard to the specific circumstances, is unconstitutional. Quite frankly, many legislators and tort reform groups will not be happy until medical malpractice cases are completely barred, which is one of the main purposes behind the caps.
Illinois Medical Malpractice Caps Unconstitutional - RELATED ARTICLES:
Chicago Sun Times - State Medical Malpractice Caps Unconstitutional
Medical Malpractice Caps Are Not the Answer - Chicago Tribune