There are no limits on medical malpractice damages amounts in Illinois in cases that have occurred since 2010. This means that the victims of medical malpractice might be able to recover damages that fairly compensate them for both their economic losses as well as the more intangible noneconomic losses that they have suffered because of the negligence of their doctors and other medical professionals. Medical malpractice can have a substantially negative impact on the finances and lives of victims who suffer from it, resulting in permanent disabilities and greatly reduced life qualities for victims. Medical malpractice lawyers work to place monetary values on their clients’ claims so that their clients have better understandings of what they might expect from their claims.
Rule Changes for Damages
Prior to 2010, Illinois placed caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. Damages that are available in cases involving medical malpractice include economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include such tangible losses as the past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages and other easily quantifiable losses. Noneconomic damages are more intangible in nature and include such things as losses for the pain and suffering that the victims have experienced as a result of their injuries from medical malpractice, damages for reductions in the quality of life, emotional distress caused by the injuries and others.
Before 2010, Illinois law limited noneconomic damages against a doctor and his or her medical staff to no more than $500,000 for all of the plaintiffs in an individual case and $1 million in cases against hospitals for negligence. That law was found to be unconstitutional, meaning that Illinois no longer places caps on noneconomic damages that are caused by medically negligent actions by doctors, medical staff and hospitals.
The Impact of the Rule Change
Economic damages were not limited before 2010, but the limits that were placed on the recovery of noneconomic damages meant that many plaintiffs could simply not be made whole following their injuries. When the damages caps were found to be unconstitutional, the decision cleared the way for the victims of medical malpractice to recover damages that could fairly compensate them for all of their losses. Many victims previously were unable to recover sufficient compensation to pay for all of the losses that they suffered. Medical malpractice lawyers now are able to seek the recovery of damages that may be fairer for their clients.