The following letter to the editor by ITLA President Larry R. Rogers, Jr appeared in Crain’s Chicago Business on January 25, 2021.
Rather than accept responsibility for their negligence or wrongful conduct and fairly compensate injured people or their families, insurance companies, corporations, hospitals and other wrongdoers sometimes opt to employ legal tactics that deny justice by delaying justice.
Carl Bergetz’s recent letter to this page fails to mention that this is the impetus behind House Bill 3360, legislation requiring prejudgment interest passed by the Illinois General Assembly.
The reason this change is necessary is to prevent deep-pocketed defendants from dragging out cases in the hopes that injured parties or their families will become so financially desperate they accept a settlement that is far less than they likely would have received after a favorable verdict.
Forty-six states have some form of a prejudgment interest law on the books to help incentivize timely resolution of meritorious claims and reduce congestion of civil litigation dockets. Moreover, prejudgment interest does not accrue on settlements – and 97 percent of cases settle. Nor do defendants pay prejudgment interest when they win in court.
For the select few cases where this measure will apply, individuals who were harmed will be more fully and fairly compensated. Another important benefit will be less clogged court dockets and a more efficient legal systems.
We strongly encourage Gov. Pritzker to sign this bill and bring Illinois into line with the majority of states.
Larry R. Rogers
President, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association