Illinois law allows victims who are injured in accidents caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party to file legal action against that party for financial compensation for the losses those injuries cause. These losses can include medical expenses to treat the injuries, loss of income if the victim is unable to work while they recover, pain and suffering, and more.
Many accident claims are handled through the at-fault party’s insurance company, such as in car accidents, premises liability accidents, and medical malpractice lawsuits. Unfortunately, the majority of insurance companies will do all they can to get a victim to settle for far less than what they deserve, including dragging the entire process out for an extended period of time. But a new Illinois law could end up penalizing insurance companies who engage in these types of practices.
Pretrial Interest Legislation
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and any time they are forced to pay funds to a victim, it cuts into those profits. Prior to the new law’s passage, there was no legal incentive for the at-fault party or an insurance company to settle a case before it went to trial. Insurance companies are well known for engaging in tactics that pressure victims to settle for less than what their losses are, or they attempt to find ways to deny a victim’s claim completely.
One of the most common tactics is delaying the resolution of the claim, which often puts financial pressure on the victim, who may have medical bills piling up and housing and other expenses going unpaid because they are unable to work. If a personal injury case ends up going to trial because the two sides cannot reach a settlement agreement, the only interest a victim was entitled to receive was post-judgment. Interest begins accruing on their monetary award from the day the judgment is made to the time they receive the funds, at nine percent.
The new law, however, will also award victims pre-judgment interest, at six percent. This additional interest is retroactively applied from the day the victim files the lawsuit to the day the judgment is made in their favor. The law also applies to wrongful death lawsuits.
Since the new law only applies to personal injury and wrongful death cases that actually go to trial, and not in cases where a settlement is reached, it is believed the law will encourage at-fault parties and/or insurance companies to reach a good faith settlement amount before the case goes to trial.
Contact a Will County Injury Attorney for Details
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident or other type of incident caused by another party, one of the seasoned Joliet personal injury attorneys from McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC can help you get the financial compensation you deserve. Call our office today at 815-727-0100 to schedule a free consultation and find out what legal options you may have.