Collecting Interest in Personal Injury Cases in Tennessee

I was hurt in a wreck with a big truck about six months ago.  It wasn’t my fault.  I have been waiting for over a year for the case to settle.  I lost four months of wages and have had to pay some medical bills that were not covered by my health insurance.  Can I get the insurance company to pay interest on my settlement?  It doesn’t seem fair that they can delay my settlement and not have to pay interest.

Not under Tennessee law.   Some states do permit the recovery of interest in this type of situation, but Tennessee law does not permit the recovery of interest in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. 

The only exception to this rule is if you win a case and a judgment is entered by the court you are permitted to recover interest.  Interest accrues at the rate of 10% per year on the amount of the judgment that is unpaid.  

For example, if you win a judgment of $365,000 at a jury trial in Tennessee you are entitled to collect interest of $100 per day from the date of the jury verdict until the date the judgment is paid.  If a partial payment of the judgment is made the interest is payable only on the unpaid portion of the judgment.  (Note:  you have to pay income taxes on the interest that you are paid.  Be sure to talk with you tax advisor about this.)

The inability to collect interest on personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits (unless a judgment is entered) is yet another reason why you want to hire a lawyer who will work to finish your case promptly.  

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