New law allows plaintiffs to collect pretrial interest in wrongful-death, personal injury cases

SPRINGFIELD – Governor JB Pritzker signed law Friday allowing plaintiffs to collect pre-trial interest on funds awarded in some litigation after vetoing an earlier version of the provision in March.

An amendment to Senate Law 72 introduced by Rep. Jay Hoffman, a Democrat from Swansea, provides 6% pre-trial interest on money awarded to civil injury plaintiffs and death sentences.

Hospitals and health care providers are typical culprits in these cases.

Prior to the law being passed, Illinois plaintiffs received only 9% interest after the verdict. This would be interest accruing on the plaintiff’s amount of money from the time of the judgment to the time of receipt of payment.

Additional interest on cash awards will be applied retrospectively from the time the action is brought to the time a judgment is made in favor of the plaintiff.

Forty-seven states, including Illinois, now have some form of pre-trial interest in court profits. In his March veto message, Pritzker said he did not support the previous version of the bill because the interest rate of 9% was significantly higher than in other countries with similar laws.

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, which opposed the bill, issued a statement after it was signed.

“This measure will dramatically increase litigation costs for manufacturers, hospitals and doctors who were at the forefront of the pandemic,” Association President Mark Denzler said in the press release. “Policymakers should focus on helping manufacturers drive the economic recovery from the pandemic without making it difficult for companies to hire workers and invest in our communities.”

The non-retroactive provision comes into force on June 21st.

The Illinois State Medical Society, which also opposed the bill, claims the new bill will affect the state’s liability climate.

“The consequences of this new law will be felt when doctors decide Illinois is too expensive for a state to practice medicine. Prejudice interest rates will increase medical liability payouts, remove doctors from our borders, and increase health care costs We have said it before and we will say it again: The bottom line is that the patients will suffer, “said ISMS President Regan Thomas in a written statement.

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