“Why is this taking so long?” That is a question that a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer hears quite often. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis. That is, the lawyer does not get paid unless and until the client gets paid. Therefore a plaintiff’s lawyer never has motivation for delay. For our opponents, the insurance carriers, it seems that the opposite is true. In many cases insurance companies “reserve” the maximum limits of their exposure shortly after the case is opened, but manage to avoid paying anything to the injury victim for years. Rumor has it that one company had an unoffical motto of “Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay.”
Now, there is a bill pending in the state senate that would award pre-judgment interest to injury victims in some cases. Under Senate Bill 184, the Defendant would have 120 days following receipt of notice to make a settlement offer. If a judgment in favor of plaintiff following trial later exceeded the Defendant’s offer, then the Defendant would owe the Plaintiff pre-judgment interest from the date of the offer on the difference between the offer and the final verdict.
The proposed law allowing prejudgment interest was proposed by the Illinois State Bar Association. Similar laws have been enacted in 16 other states. This new law would make defendants and their representatives think twice about refusing to make an offer just for the sake of delay. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
For more information about this subject or the author, Chicago injury attorney Steven A. Sigmond, call (312) 258-8188 or return to our website at www.siglaw.com.