Illinois Lawmakers Pass Compromise Bill to Enact 6% Prejudgment Interest to Personal Injury Cases
On May 28, Governor JB Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 72, the prejudgment interest bill. Following strong resistance from trade associations, healthcare industries, and the insurance lobby the proposed bill had previously been vetoed. But just as the governor rejected the bill, the General Assembly approved a compromised proposal that would similarly award victims in personal injury and wrongful death cases collection of prejudgment interest on money they receive from court.
Due to the perseverance of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association’s leadership and strong support of their plaintiffs’ lawyers, the current version of the bill will apply to all filed cases as of July 1, 2021. With the intent of motivating resolutions and abating drawn-out court battles, the legislation will allow plaintiffs suing hospitals, health care providers, and other major organizations for personal injury and wrongful death suits to accrue interest at 6% per year from the date of filing. The law will level the economic playing field, as defendants and insurers frequently take advantage of prolonged rulings causing victims to often face loss of income while awaiting their day in court.
“This is a huge victory for our current and future clients,” former Illinois Trial Lawyers Association President Peter J. Flowers. “Knowing that interest is accumulating at 6% every day, the defense will no longer profit from impeding resolutions for our clients’ cases.”
Illinois will now join the 46 other states who have already adopted some form of a prejudgment interest law. The measure brings further equality and compassion to plaintiffs’ cases as they navigate the tremendous emotional hardships of their case as well as financial burdens placed on them by the unexpected death of a loved one or injuries endured. The law will ensure those injured and their families will receive full and fair payouts in a timely manner.
As the passage of this bill is no small feat, we applaud the determination and strong lobbying of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association as they that continue to stand up for the rights of Illinois plaintiffs.