Synopsis: New Law Allows for prejudgment interest in some IL personal injury and wrongful death claims. This is a “must-read” for personal injury/liability adjusters, risk managers and defense attorneys.
Editor’s comment: Governor Pritzker signed and thereby enacted this new law that I assure you was quietly sponsored by the Illinois Trial Lawyers. The law might cause multi-million verdicts to be even more painful for insurance carriers, self-insureds and physicians/hospitals defending medical malpractice claims. As I have advised many times, Illinois has overwhelming Democrat majorities in the IL House and Senate, along with our very, very liberal Governor. As Gov. Pritzker is an owner of Hyatt Hotels, one has to wonder how the folks at their legal department feel about the rising claims costs posed by this new law.
The new law requires:
Prejudgment interest will accrue at the rate of 6% from the date the action is filed in personal injury or wrongful death cases.
This new law does not impact IL WC claims.
If Claimant’s counsel takes a voluntary dismissal to refile the action within a year, interest is tolled for that time.
It exempts punitive damages, sanctions, statutory attorney’s fees, and statutory costs;
The law exempts/does not apply to claims against the State and other governmental entities.
Experts are unsure whether it might apply to employment discrimination claims—that may have to be litigated and decided in the courts.
Prejudgment interest is capped at 5 years (you may note there was no cap in previous versions of the bill).
Please consider making a reasonable settlement offer in major personal injury and wrongful death claims to avoid prejudgment interest.
The way the new law is created, prejudgment interest will be applicable only to the difference between the judgment and the highest rejected offer (within the applicable time frames). Prejudgment interest may not be added if the judgment is equal to or less than the amount of the highest written settlement made by the defendant not accepted or rejected by the plaintiff within 90 days of the offer or rejection.
For any personal injury or wrongful death occurring before July 1, 2021, the prejudgment interest shall begin to accrue on the later of July 1, 2021 or the date the action is filed.
The new law is effective July 1, 2021.
We do not feel this is going to make Illinois any “friendlier” to businesses looking to start, move or expand here but I caution many States already have prejudgment interest and this interest amount and the way it is being administered seems reasonable to me, particularly if you know the earlier versions of this law.
I appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please post them on our award-winning blog.
Synopsis: Illinois WC Does Fairly Well in Recent State-by-State WC Cost Rating by AdvisorSmith.
Editor’s comment: While looking up other things, I found a state-by-state WC cost listing from this company that appears to be a national business insurance outfit. They indicate their stats are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. I do feel it has good news for Illinois businesses and the WC community.
The highest state is New Jersey with an annual WC cost per employee of $1,415. The lowest is North Dakota at $376.
If you take a look at this link https://advisorsmith.com/workers-compensation-insurance/cost/ you will note Illinois WC is right in the middle at No. 24. Our workers’ comp costs per hour are $0.39 and average annual cost per worker are $820.
The study notes each state and the District of Columbia run/monitor their own workers’ compensation systems, and rules for which companies are required to have this insurance vary in each state. In many states, all companies with employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, while in other states, only companies that surpass a minimum number of employees are required to have coverage. Texas is the only state in which workers’ compensation insurance is not legally required and employers are allowed to “opt out” of coverage, which may allow the worker to sue for injuries in their courts.
The study noes in most states, private insurance companies and self-insured employers provide all or some of the workers’ compensation insurance policies available to businesses and governments. Some states have a mixed system in which the state also runs a workers’ compensation insurance program that can be used to purchase insurance. Finally, a few states have a fully state-run system, in which workers’ compensation insurance is required to be purchased solely from the state.
Additionally, other factors that affect the WC premiums paid by businesses and local governments between states are the types of jobs and businesses within the state, the worker safety regulations required by each state, wage rates in the state, and medical costs in each state.
Please note my view that Appellate ruling like McAllister v. IWCC are certain to skew our current results and make IL WC more pricey. I also feel the same way about the new trend to have every worker get “loss of trade” of an incalculable and un-reservable amount that is being doled out as “body as a whole.”
I have no pecuniary or other interest in AdvisorSmith. I appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please post them on our award-winning blog.
Workers’ Compensation Workshop: What’s Changed for 2021?
Wednesday June 16, 2021
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fairfield Inn & Suites
1111 N. Henrietta St.
Effingham, IL 62401
Join Attorneys from Keefe, Campbell, Biery & Associates to learn what has changed for 2021 regarding Workers’ Compensation! The presentation will offer an overview of Illinois Workers’ Compensation where attendees will gain a greater understanding of the IL Workers’ Compensation system of benefits and litigation, learning key terms & terminology. This will include a discussion of issues you may encounter during claims and tips for effective handling and management.
The presenters will discuss specific areas including the impact of COVID-19 claims and legalization of cannabis as well as relevant case-law updates.