Illinois Medical Malpractice Jury Award Limits Struck Down By Illinois Supreme Court in Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital

After almost three years of legal battles, the Illinois Supreme Court came to a decision on whether economic limits should be placed on Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits. In Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, the Illinois high court upheld a Cook County Circuit Court ruling that the Illinois law on medical malpractice non-economic damage caps violate the Illinois Constitution’s “separation of powers” clause.

This decision essentially states that the Illinois legislators interfered with a jury’s right to determine the amount of economic damages in Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits. The recent Lebron decision marks the third time that the Illinois Supreme Court struck down unconstitutional limits on medical malpractice awards, having done so with similar law in both 1976 and 1997.

The underlying lawsuit, Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, stems from a 2006 Illinois birth injury lawsuit filed by the family of a girl who suffered severe brain damage during her delivery at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Illinois.

Lebron was used as a “test case” to challenge the Illinois law on medical malpractice. The recent Illinois Supreme Court’s opinion restores the jury’s right to make decisions regarding medical malpractice rewards. This is a right the jury has in every other kind of Illinois lawsuit, whether regarding commercial litigation, Illinois trucking accidents, or Illinois product liability lawsuits.

As expected, physicians, hospitals and particularly malpractice insurers were disappointed with the court’s decision as they were hoping that there would be some restraint placed on Illinois medical malpractice verdicts. However, for plaintiffs and Illinois victims of medical malpractice, the Illinois Supreme Court ruling has firmly established their right to just retribution for medical negligence.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical malpractice cases for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Park Ridge, Downers Grove, Deer Park, and Blue Island.

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