I was hurt in an intersection wreck case about nine months ago. It wasn’t my fault. I have been waiting for over a year for the case to settle. I lost three 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. Tennessee law does not permit the recovery of interest in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Some states to have such a law and it encourages insurance companies to act more promptly and be more reasonable in their evaluation of cases.
The only exception to this rule is if you win a case. When you win 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 $365,000 x 10% = $36,500 per year divided by 365 = $100 per day). 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 and aggressively push the insurance company to either settle the case or try the case.