Illinois legal settlements climb

The findings of the ninth annual Chicago Lawyer Settlement Survey confirm that large legal settlements are on the increase in the US.

In a snapshot mirroring national trends, the 2003 survey found that 131 Illinois cases settled for US$2 million (£1.2 million) or higher in the last year, up from 103 cases in 2002 and 99 in 2001.

In all, the 2003 settlements totaled more than US$801 million (£472m), up from US$604 million (£356m) in 2002 and US$471 million (£278m) in 2001, an increase of more than 70 per cent in two years.

Medical malpractice cases accounted for 75 per cent of the settlements. The top case was a US$39.91 million (£24m) settlement in a wrongful death suit resulting from a crash, where a family car was rear-ended by a commercial truck. It left a father dead and a child seriously injured.