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Is there a Cap on Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements in Illinois?

If you suspect that a birth injury resulted from a medical practitioner's negligence or carelessness, you may consider pursuing a lawsuit against the person or facility responsible. Birth injury litigation falls into the category of medical malpractice, which allows plaintiffs to hold one or more negligent professionals accountable for their role in an undue injury or other avoidable condition.

Most states place a cap on how much medical malpractice plaintiffs can receive in damages if their lawsuits are successful. Prior to 2010, Illinois had a similar policy, placing a $500,000 to $1 million limit on "non-economic damages" - also known as compensation for the following non-quantifiable losses:

  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Lost companionship (particularly in cases of wrongful death)
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment/quality of life
  • Anxiety

However, in 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court declared this limit unconstitutional in the notable LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital case. Several other judges have since overruled this statute in their decisions, making it a controversial issue for medical malpractice cases in Illinois.

In Illinois, there is no cap on compensation for economic damages, which includes the real costs of lost wages from missed work, lost irreplaceable items and additional injury-related expenses. Conversely, Illinois does not award punitive damages - damages used as punishment or to make an example of a defendant for a morally culpable act - in medical malpractice cases.

Although physicians continue to advocate for caps on non-economic damages in Illinois, trial attorneys remain steadfast in their fight for fair compensation for their plaintiffs. If you or your child suffers from birth-related injuries and you believe that medical negligence may have contributed, you may be entitled to collect both economic and non-economic damages. Contact a birth injury attorney at Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices for more information on filing a claim in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois.

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