Illinois's tort reform faces challenges

August 1, 2007

Since Illinois passed tort reform in 2005 to help stymie skyrocketing medical malpractice premiums, physicians in the state have seen dramatic drops in rates and an increase in competition among insurance carriers. While this is good news for now, legal challenges-including whether caps on noneconomic damages are constitutional-could put an end to the reprieve.

Since Illinois passed tort reform in 2005 to help stymie skyrocketing medical malpractice premiums, physicians in the state have seen dramatic drops in rates and an increase in competition among insurance carriers. While this is good news for now, legal challenges-including whether caps on noneconomic damages are constitutional-could put an end to the reprieve.

"Based on what has happened in other states with reform, if the laws are upheld, we can reasonably anticipate physician's medical liability insurance premiums to go up at half the rate of increase as in non-reform states," defense attorney Jennifer Blake of Chicago-based law firm Lowis & Gellen LLP, told Medical Liability Monitor (05/2007). If the laws are overturned, however, premiums could shoot back up.

So, what should physicians who practice in Illinois do in the meantime? Support the medical organizations fighting these legal challenges to tort reform. Also, carefully consider your medical malpractice insurance options: Make sure that the insurer you choose will continue to offer uninterrupted service, even when the market isn't as attractive.