Medical Malpractice

CHICAGO (AP) -- A judge in Chicago has thrown out an Illinois law that capped some medical malpractice lawsuit awards, re-igniting debate over one of the Legislature's most contentious issues.

Cook County Judge Diane Joan Larsen today sided with plaintiffs who argued that the caps on non-economic damages such as pain-and-suffering in medical malpractice cases violate victims' rights.

The 2005 law limits damages victims can collect for pain and suffering to $500,000 against doctors and $1 million against hospitals. It followed complaints from doctors about soaring malpractice insurance rates.

Officials with the Illinois Hospital Association say they're disappointed in the verdict but they're confident an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court will successfully uphold the caps.

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