With less than three percent (3%) of civil cases ever going to trial, often times most civil cases settle before the parties even get to trial. The addition of section 735 ILCS 5/2-2301 into the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure provides a simplified way of making it easier and more efficient way of ensuring a plaintiff receives their money when a settlement agreement is reached.
The statute for civil cases, according to section 735 ILCS 5/2-2301, provides in claims involving personal injury, property damage, wrongful death, or tort actions involving a claim for money damage, a release must be tendered to the plaintiff by the settling Defendant within fourteen (14) days upon written confirmation of the settlement. After which, the Defendant shall pay the settlement sum owed to the Plaintiff within thirty (30) days of tender by the plaintiff of the executed release. If a court finds a Defendant has not timely paid pursuant to the section, a judgment can be entered in the amount set forth in the settlement plus cost incurred in obtaining the judgment.
A typical story to illustrate the addition of section 735 ILCS 5/2-2301: Suppose a person was rear ended in a car accident and intends to sue the driver who rear ended them for their injuries they sustained as a result of the car accident. The insurance company of the driver who caused the accident agrees to settle the case with the injured person for $50,000.00 on January 1st. Based on the provisions of section 735 ILCS 5/2-2301, the insurance company must provide a release to the injured person by January 15th. From which, the insurance company will have until February 14th (30 days) to pay the settlement amount of $50,000.00. If the insurance company does not pay within those thirty (30) days, then the injured person can go to court and get a judgment entered against the insurance company for $50,000.00 plus any costs incurred by the injured party such as attorney fees, court fees, filing fees, etc. in attempting to recover the settlement amount.
It is important to note some key exceptions to statute. First, this statute shall only apply to the settling Defendant. If you are party in a case with multiple Defendants, the statute can only be enforced against the Defendant for which you have entered into a settlement agreement. It will not apply to the other Defendants in the case. Second, this section applies to all personal injury, property damage, wrongful death, or tort actions involving a claim for money damage but it does not apply to the following: (1) the State of Illinois; (2) any State agency, board, or Commission; (3) any State officer or employee sued in his or her official capacity; (4) any person or entity being represented by the Attorney General; (5) any municipality or unit of local govern; and (6) class action lawsuits. Thus, it is important to understand the matter which your case is dealing with and who are all the parties involved.
Whether a case goes to trial or gets settled different statutes apply to each step of a civil case. It is essential to understand the statutes and regulations affecting the step you are in relative to your case. The addition of 735 ILCS 5/2-2301 has provided Plaintiffs and Defendants with a streamlined multistep process for the payment of a settlement agreement without the need for the court’s interference unless the defendant fails to pay the settlement amount to the Plaintiff. This allows for Plaintiffs in Illinois to no longer have to wait months to years for the money they are owed and can now receive the money they deserve in less time.
Unfortunately, injuries happen all the time, and when they do, you deserve compensation. Sherwood Law Group specializes in personal injury accident cases and offers free consultations for any personal injury and accident case. Whether car accident, trucking accident, pedestrian struck by motor vehicle, bike accident, slip and fall, construction accident, trip and fall, premise accident, wrongful death, or other personal injury accident, Sherwood Law Group will be able to thoroughly evaluate your case and get you the money, settlement, verdict and award that you rightfully deserve.