Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Interest On Tort Judgements for Personal Injury and Property Damage Claims - Boston, MA

In Massachusetts, interest on tort cases is governed by two statutes, one providing for pre-judgment interest, and one governing post-judgment interest.  G.L. c. 231, § 6B provides that where a plaintiff recovers in a personal injury claim or property damage claim, the clerk shall automatically add interest to the recovery in the amount of twelve percent per annum for the period from the date of filing the complaint until the date of judgment.  This is simple interest, with no compounding.  Thus, by way of example, if the plaintiff filed suit on January 1, 2012 and recovered a jury verdict in the amount of $100,000 on December 31, 2012, the clerk would automatically add $12,000 to the award for pre-judgment interest, and enter judgment in the amount of $112,000 plus any litigation costs and/or attorneys fees awarded.

G.L. c. 235, § 8 provides that interest on judgments shall run at the same rate as pre-judgment interest accrued on the judgment.  Thus, for personal injury and property damage claims post-judgment interest runs at the rate of twelve percent annum, with no compounding.  In other words, the interest runs post judgment at the rate of one percent (1 %) per month of the total amount of the judgment.  Because the judgment amount includes pre-judgment interest, and post-judgment interest is calculated on the entirety of the judgment, post-judgment interest includes interest on interest – that is interest on the pre-judgment interest awarded.  In addition, to the extent that the judgment includes amounts awarded for litigation costs and attorneys fees, post-judgment interest accrues on those amounts at the same rate.  Thus, under the example in the prior paragraph, assuming a jury verdict of $100,000, pre-judgment interest of $12,000, and litigation costs of $8,000, the clerk would enter a judgment in the amount of $120,000.  Post-judgment interest would run on the entire $120,000 judgment at the rate of twelve percent per annum, or $1,200 per month.    

The litigation attorneys at Pierce & Mandell have a wealth of experience in all facets of tort litigation, including personal injury cases and property damage cases.  Please contact Bob Pierce at 617-720-2444 if you have any questions, or would like to discuss a potential tort litigation matter.