Hepler Broom, LLC

Illinois HB 3360 Would Increase Pre-Judgment Interest to Personal Injury Plaintiffs

March 9, 2021

Eight weeks have passed since the Illinois Legislature passed HB 3360, and Governor J.B. Pritzker still hasn’t signed it into law.

The Legislation

HB 3360 expands and extends the timeframe for allowing pre-judgment interest to plaintiffs in personal injury cases. Under this bill, prejudgment interest begins to accrue the date an alleged tortfeasor has notice of the injury, regardless of when the lawsuit is filed.

It also proposes to modify the Code of Civil Procedure to add 9% annual interest to all personal injury and wrongful death actions brought against any person or entity, whether in negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, intentional conduct, or strict liability. (It does not apply to governmental bodies.)

Legislation’s Damaging Effects

This legislation is short-sighted and, if passed, will have devastating consequences on the defense bar and insurance carriers. It encourages plaintiffs to file frivolous lawsuits. It’s likely that many plaintiffs’ attorneys will delay filing suit until the eve of the expiration of the limitations period to maximize pre-judgment interest. It provides no opportunity for tortfeasors or carriers to evaluate potential liability before the pre-judgment interest period starts. Further, this legislation does not account for delays in litigation caused by plaintiff, plaintiff’s counsel, the current COVID pandemic, or other factors outside the defendant’s control.

No exception is made for cases involving minor plaintiffs, where the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until a plaintiff turns 18. For birth injury cases, that means nearly 20 years of pre-judgment interest can accrue–at 9% per year–before a lawsuit is even filed.

The legislation also provides for pre-judgment interest on economic and non-economic damages, such as awards for pain and suffering. In addition, interest accrues on awards for future damages (e.g., future medical care and future wage loss).

Illinois HB 3360 is strongly opposed by  numerous business, medical, and defense groups, including The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois State Medical Society, Illinois Defense Counsel, and National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. They continue to lobby Pritzker to veto the bill.

COVID-19 Updates

HeplerBroom LLC COVID-19 Response

HeplerBroom has been diligently working on its response and continuity plan to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep the health and safety of our employees, their families, and our clients as our top priority.

To help ensure everyone's continued health and well-being, effective March 17, 2020, all attorneys and staff began working remotely. We continue to assess the situation and will return to our physical offices when appropriate.

To ensure this, the firm has identified essential personnel in each office who will make certain that critical firm functions that cannot be done remotely continue to be handled. We have put in place protocol for those essential personnel to make sure they are keeping healthy per the CDC cleaning and sanitizing recommendations. All teams have back-up personnel and procedures that we will follow to make sure all deadlines are met and clients receive the same great service and work product that we have always been proud to provide.

HeplerBroom's IT department has been working hard to make sure all remote employees are set up with equipment and access from home to limit disruption to our clients. Maintaining security and confidentiality has remained, and will continue to remain, at the forefront of all processes and procedures, at all levels throughout the firm.

The firm has created emergency communication measures to communicate any changes to this plan to employees and are communicating on a regular basis with any and all new resources and helpful information during this uncertain time.

During these fluid and unpredictable times, HeplerBroom will continue its commitment to great service and results for our clients, all while keeping safe and healthy.

Wishing you and your families good health.

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