The Illinois Supreme Court ruled February 4 week that capping jury awards for non-economic damages is unconstitutional. 

The ruling could drive up healthcare costs and is a serious threat to doctors and hospitals, whose liability insurance rates have remained steady or even decreased since the cap on non-economic damages went into effect in 2005.

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers approved the Illinois Medical Malpractice Act in 2005, despite strong objections from the Illinois trial lawyer lobby. When the reform legislation was signed into law it was considered a major victory for doctors and Illinois citizens, many of whom were finding it increasingly difficult to access medical treatment, especially obstetrics and cutting-edge procedures and medical treatments.

The state’s high court ruling upheld a previous Cook County Circuit Court decision, which found that Illinois’ Medical Malpractice Act violated the state Constitution by impeding a jury’s right to establish reasonable damages.

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