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CHICAGO DAILY LAW BULLETIN

By Lauraann Wood
Law Bulletin staff writer

A state appeals panel has ruled that jury awards for medical bills in injury cases cannot be reduced to account for the amount of bills the health provider writes off.

The opinion issued earlier this month in the Springfield-based 4th District Appellate Court addresses a long-standing debate between the state’s plaintiff bar and defense bar — which each offered their stance through bar group amicus briefs — regarding how medical bills and subsequent jury awards should be calculated.

In the underlying case, a Coles County jury awarded plaintiff Harold Miller $133,347 for medical expenses in his July 2015 medical-malpractice trial. Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Brien J. O’Brien reduced the award by $91,724 when the defendant hospital and doctor argued that such a number represented an amount of money neither Miller nor his health-care provider had a right to recover since it was written off in his medical bills.

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medical negligence in Illinois, Chicago malpractice attorneyMedical negligence occurs far more often than the number of cases reported for litigation. According to research published by Northern Illinois University College of Law, an estimated 4,325 patients die in hospitals in Illinois every year from preventable medical errors. Of this number, 96 percent of medical malpractice victims never pursue a claim.

Cornell University Law School Professor, Theodore Eisenberg surmises in his 2012 paper, “The Empirical Effects of Tort Reform,” that people who do not sue as a result of a medical error do not recover costs. Prof. Eisenberg shares that a possible contributing factor to the high rate of medical errors is due to the fact that most patients victim to medical malpractice do not file a claim. Therefore, doctors do not expect they will be responsible for full costs as a result of their negligence.

Our law firm is here to help victims understand their legal rights when it involves medical malpractice. It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible regarding an incident in which medical error was involved due to the statutes of limitations applied by the state.

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