On January 13, 2021, the Illinois legislature passed House Bill 3360, which, if signed into law, will impose a nine percent annual nine percent prejudgment interest rate on personal injury and wrongful death actions. The bill provides that the nine percent interest begins to accrue on the date the defendant has notice of the injury “from the accident itself or [from] written notice.” The bill is advantageous for injured plaintiffs, and has the support of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (“ITLA”). This is because, under the bill, plaintiffs will begin earning interest on their prospective judgments well before ever having to file a lawsuit, which will incentivize insurance companies and defendants to settle meritorious cases rather than needlessly delaying them. An op-ed written by Larry Powers, Jr., the current president of ITLA, can be found here.
After the bill passed both houses of the General Assembly, it was sent to the governor’s desk. Under Illinois law, Governor Pritzker was then given 60 days to sign the bill or veto it. If the governor does nothing, the bill automatically becomes law. If the governor vetoes the bill, it will be sent back to the General Assembly, which could overturn the veto by a three-fifths vote in each house.
46 states have some form of prejudgment interest laws. House Bill 3360 aims to bring Illinois in conformity with other jurisdictions.