Illinois Supreme Court and Medical Malpractice Caps
By David Austin
The Illinois Supreme Court recently decided to overturn a law that would have capped damages in Medical Malpractice cases.
Thursday morning the Illinois supreme court overturned a 2005 law that capped the amount of money victims can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits. Opinions on this decision vary to the extreme. Most citizens groups and trial lawyers praise the decision saying it protects patients and the separation of powers. But, most medical providers say, this will mean more expensive malpractice insurance and may force physicians out of Illinois.
Malpractice caps are a misleading way to save health care costs. That is one of the often quoted arguments as to why medical malpractice caps should be enacted. "Stop the out of control lawsuits and health care costs will go down." Not true. Lawsuit costs are only 2% of health care costs.
Illinois lawmakers have tried three times to join the more than 30 neighboring states which do have medical malpractice lawsuit caps. But, the most recent attempt enacted in 2005, has been thrown out by the Illinois Supreme Court.
"The ruling is that the legislature does not have the power to do things that are properly within the judicial branch," says past president of the Illinois Trial Lawyer's Association. "It's called separation of powers."
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