New Illinois Prejudgement Interest Act
In January 2021, the Illinois General Assembly finally passed legislation to enable Illinois Personal Injury Claimants to collect prejudgment interest in cases which resulted in bodily injury. I say “finally”, because many states throughout the United States have allowed prejudgment interest in some form or fashion for quite some time. Missouri has allowed prejudgment interest at least as far back as 2000 when I first began my legal career there. The Public Act, amending the Illinois Interest on Judgment Act, took effect on July 1, 2021. Defendants and their insurers were given 1 year either from the effective date of the Act or from the date of filing to extend an offer of settlement. Interest on any verdict, above that which is offered as part of any written offer of settlement extended, will begin to accrue at the rate of 6% per annum from the later of those two aforementioned dates. As an Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer with his home office located in Bloomington, Illinois, I can assure you that it was a long time coming for this legislation.
Illinois attorneys who are members of the State’s bar association were notified of the bill’s signing via the organization’s daily email service, on June 1, 2021, although members of the Illinois Trial Lawyer’s Association (ITLA), of which Mr. Dodds is a member, were kept abreast of developments relating to the bill throughout its pendency, including notification of the bill’s signing by the Governor, on May 28, 2021. The officers of ITLA and some of its members were instrumental in securing its passage.
Before its passage, the Illinois Prejudgment Interest Act was amended at the behest of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. The law as originally passed by the Illinois General Assembly would have allowed for 9% interest. In a letter issued by Governor Pritzker at the time he vetoed the bill as originally passed by the Legislature on March 25, 2021, voiced concerns that the rate of interest was too steep, when compared to that of the presently low federal funds rate, and that the 9% interest rate would have had adverse effects on hospitals and medical professionals. The Governor otherwise supported the expressed intent of the legislation, which was to foster faster resolution of Illinois personal injury cases.v