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Tort reform in Illinois may cap awards for hospital negligence

Changes to Illinois law could affect the amount that could be awarded in cases of hospital negligence. These changes are being considered by legislators and will be voted on in the future. However, in the meantime, victims of hospital negligence and other types of medical malpractice are stepping forward to discuss how their lives have changed since they or their loved ones suffered injuries. 

Illinois lawmakers are debating changes to tort reform law. The proposed changes would supposedly save employers money and help the state's businesses. However, the families of victims of malpractice testified about how medical mistakes had changed their lives, and they discussed how caps on awards could have been detrimental to their futures.

One woman discussed how doctors put off performing a C-section when her oldest son was born. She said that this delay in medical care led to brain damage to the child. In this case, the jury awarded her millions of dollars, which she needs to care for her son and guarantee him the best quality of life.

In related testimony, a resident of a neighboring state claimed that she did not even get 10 percent of the $15 million that a jury awarded her family because of that state's cap on awards. Her daughter has cerebral palsy, and she claims to be tired of having to depend on Medicaid for treatment. She is hoping that Illinois residents will not have to face the same challenges as she does. 

A member of the Illinois Civil Justice League says that the Illinois business environment is under attack. He also claims that the state is a magnet for attorneys who want a lawsuit-friendly court. This is the argument the politicians who are pushing for the reform are using to back the proposed changes.

Illinois residents who are victims of hospital negligence or who have lost loved ones to medical malpractice may want to keep a close eye on the situation in Springfield. Should this reform pass, the amounts victims can be awarded will likely decrease significantly. As many victims and their families rely on the awards from malpractice claims for financial stability, a change in the legislation could significantly affect the lives of future victims.

Source: therepublic.com, "Malpractice, wrongful death plaintiffs weigh in as Illinois lawmakers start tort reform talks", Nick Swedberg, May 12, 2015

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