On March 25, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker vetoed HB3360, which sought to expand the time frame for pre-judgment interest to plaintiffs in personal injury cases. That bill provided for 9% annual pre-judgment interest on all personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, or intentional misconduct. The bill also provided that interest accrued as of the date of notice of the injury, not filing of suit, and applied to economic damages, non-economic damages, and future damages (such as future medical care and future wage loss). (Pritzker’s letter detailing his reasoning for vetoing the bill can be read here.)
However, this issue is far from over. A revised version of the pre-judgment interest legislation (SB0072) passed the Illinois House and Senate. (The full text of SB0072 can be found here.) The pending legislation is a slightly scaled-back version of the vetoed legislation. This latest bill sets the interest rate at 6% and limits the time frame for recoverable pre-judgment interest to five years. Interest runs from the date the complaint is filed. Under this revised bill, the accrual of interest is tolled if a case is voluntarily dismissed. It does not apply to punitive damages, sanctions, statutory attorneys’ fees, statutory costs, or the amount of the highest timely written offer. As with the initial bill, public entities are exempt from pre-judgment interest.
While this revised legislation is an improvement over the initial bill, it remains problematic. As with the initial legislation, this proposed bill imposes interest before a liability determination and applies to future damages, non-economic damages, and medical bills.