Lois K. Ries, a public aid recipient, was paralyzed by what was alleged to be medical malpractice. This took place in 2011. Her medical malpractice lawsuit was pending when she died. After settling the case for $415,000, her two sons, who were the co-executors of her estate and her sole heirs, received an unpleasant surprise.
During the negotiations, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (the holder of the Illinois public aid lien) reduced its lien under Section 11-22 of the Illinois Public Aid Code to $20,000. It had paid $124,679 for her medical expenses after she was paralyzed. The sons expected to receive the next proceeds of the settlement: $80,819. However, the department insisted that it was entitled to all of the money based on Section 5-13 because it had provided $87,929 in medical benefits to Rise before her injury.
The co-executors objected, insisting that they never would have settled the medical malpractice lawsuit if they knew they would receive nothing. They would have instead pressed on, taking the case to trial with the hope that they would obtain a verdict more than the settlement and thus have some money for themselves after satisfying the public aid lien.