In certain situations, you may be eligible for additional interest on top of an award in your personal injury case.

What Is Prejudgment Interest?

Personal injury cases can be incredibly difficult for victims. After going through the trauma of an accident, victims are then faced with medical treatment, financial difficulties, mounting stress, and in many cases, problems with getting back to professional life. If victims decide to file a claim against the party responsible for any injuries and/or move forward with a lawsuit, a whole other complication arises. Filing a lawsuit can cause an incredible amount of anxiety for many people, as the legal world can be strange and complex, filled with a whole new set of jargon.

However, with a skilled and compassionate personal injury attorney on your side, filing a claim for your injuries does not have to be traumatic. In fact, a lawyer should be able to shepherd you through the process, making sure that you understand each step of it along the way.

Your claim will likely start with sending what is known as a demand or claim letter to the party responsible for your accident, or their insurance company. This will usually begin a series of negotiations. If the case cannot be settled, then your personal injury attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit. Once a lawsuit has been filed, you will then be subject to the rules of the court, which can be hard to understand. Most cases begin with the parties exchanging information about the case in a process known as discovery. If the parties cannot agree to settle the case, then it will go to trial.

In California, Arizona and in many other states, a special rule provides that if the plaintiff (or victim) in a personal injury case makes an offer to settle a case that the defendant (the person who caused the accident) rejects and the case goes to trial, the defendant may end up being responsible for what is known as prejudgment interest. This occurs if the plaintiff ends up getting a more favorable judgment at trial than what he or she offered to settle the case for initially. The defendant is then liable for interest at a specific rate (often 10%), calculated from the day that the offer was made until the date that the judgement is satisfied (the judgment is paid).

For example, if you were in a car accident and offered to settle the case for $100,000 under this special rule on January 1, and the defendant rejected the settlement offer, and then the jury awarded you $200,000 at trial, you would be considered to have a more favorable outcome at trial. The defendant would owe you 10% interest on that judgment of $200,000 from January 1 until the day he paid you the $200,000. This could add up to quite a lot of money, depending on when the offer was made and when the judgment was satisfied — which makes it all the more important that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney who understands these rules and can use them to your advantage.

At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, we have more than 40 years of experience representing clients who have been injured in all types of accidents. We have recovered more than $2 billion dollars on behalf of our clients. We offer free initial consultations, and we never charge a fee unless we get money for you. Contact us today at 800-333-0000 or to schedule an appointment today.

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