SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday signed a law allowing plaintiffs to earn pre-trial interest on money awarded in certain lawsuits, after vetoing an earlier version of the provision in March.
Senate Bill 72 amendment, introduced by Rep. Jay Hoffman, a Democrat from Swansea, awards 6% pre-trial interest on money awarded to plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in court civil.
Hospitals and healthcare providers are typical defendants in these cases.
Before the law was passed, plaintiffs received only 9% interest after the judgment in Illinois. This would be the interest accrued on the plaintiff’s monetary compensation between the time the judgment is rendered and the time payment is received.
From now on, additional interest on pecuniary compensation is applied retroactively from the time the lawsuit is filed until the time a judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff.
Forty-seven states, including Illinois, now have some form of pre-trial interest in court gains. In his March veto message, Pritzker said he did not support the previous version of the bill because its 9% interest rate was significantly higher than that of other states with similar laws.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, which lobbied against the bill, released a statement after it was signed.
“This measure will dramatically increase legal costs for manufacturers, hospitals and doctors who have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic,” association president Mark Denzler said in the statement. “Policymakers should focus on supporting manufacturers to stimulate economic recovery from the pandemic, without making it harder for companies to hire workers and invest in our communities.”
The provision, which does not apply retroactively, comes into force on June 21.
The Illinois State Medical Society, which also opposed the bill, says the new law will hurt the state’s accountability climate.
“The consequences of this new law will be felt when doctors decide that Illinois is too expensive for a state to practice medicine. Prejudgment interest will increase medical liability payments, force physicians to leave our borders, and increase the cost of health care. I’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the bottom line is that patients will suffer, ”WSIS President Regan Thomas said in a written statement.