Is there a damages cap for medical malpractice cases in Illinois?
Prior to 2010, the clear answer to this question was yes. Like
a lot of states, Illinois passed a law that put a limit or “cap” on how much a plaintiff
could receive in the way of non-economic damages after a successful medical
malpractice lawsuit. Illinois had in place a $500,000 cap on non-economic
damages for cases against a negligent doctor or other health care professional,
and a $1 million cap for lawsuits against a hospital or other health care
But this cap was declared unconstitutional by the Illinois
Supreme Court in the 2010 case of LeBron
v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. So, for any medical malpractice case filed
after that decision, there is no cap of any kind on damages
in medical malpractice cases.
You may be wondering, what
are non-economic damages? They represent compensation for the kinds of more
subjective losses that typically aren’t easy to quantify by a dollar figure.
Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of
enjoyment, anxiety, lost companionship, scarring, disfigurement, and other negative
effects of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Remember that, if it even
applies to your case in light of the Illinois Supreme Court’s 2010 decision, any
cap on medical malpractice damages does not apply to the other main category of
compensation that med mal plaintiffs typically receive: economic damages. This includes reimbursement and payment of past
and future medical expenses, reimbursement of lost income, payment for diminished
ability to earn a living, and any other financial losses stemming from the
by: David Goguen, J.D.