Illinois Passes Law Granting Plaintiffs Prejudgment Interest in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Actions
On May 28, Governor Pritzker signed SB72, which amends the Illinois Interest on Judgment statute (735 ILCS 5/2-1303) (the “Act”). The Act grants prejudgment interest for economic and non-economic damages accruing at a rate of 6% per annum to a plaintiff in a personal injury or wrongful death action. The Act applies to an award of damages (exclusive of punitive damages, sanctions, and statutory attorney’s fees and costs) from the date suit is filed until the date until judgment is rendered (with a five-year limitation on interest that can be awarded). If a plaintiff voluntarily dismisses an action, the prejudgment interest will be tolled from the date of the voluntary dismissal to the date the action is re-filed. Further, if the judgment is greater than the highest written settlement offer made by the defendant within 12 months after the later of the effective date of the Act or the filing of the action and not accepted by the plaintiff within 90 days, interest is only added to the difference between the amount of the judgment (minus punitive damages, sanctions, and statutory attorney’s fees and costs) and the highest written settlement offer. No prejudgment interest will be awarded if the judgment is less than the written settlement offer.
The law is inapplicable to a unit of local government, school district, community college district, nor any other governmental entity. For any personal injury or wrongful death occurring before the effective date of the Act, prejudgment interest shall begin to accrue on the later of the date the action is filed or the effective date of the Act. Notably, the Act will likely also apply to personal injury and wrongful death actions filed in or removed to federal court pursuant to diversity jurisdiction.