In certain scenarios, a plaintiff in a wrongful death case can hold a defendant accountable for pre-judgment interest or post-judgment interest
Prejudgment interest is a variable rate placed upon a court-ordered settlement that applies the court-mandated interest rate to the settlement amount at the time the suit was filed or at the time the cause of action arose. Texas law clearly states that a "judgment in a wrongful death, personal injury, or property damage case earns prejudgment interest.
The prejudgment interest rate is equal to the postjudgment interest rate applicable at the time of judgment." Tex. Fin. Code Ann. §§ 304.102 & 304.103. This means that you can accrue interest on any settlement of a case involving wrongful death, personal injury, or property damage.
How is Pre-Judgement Interest Calculated in Texas?
Texas law mandates:
prejudgment interest accru[e] on the amount of a judgment during the period beginning on the earlier of the 180th day after the date the defendant receives written notice of a claim or the date the suit is filed and ending on the day preceding the date judgment is rendered. Prejudgment interest is computed as simple interest and does not compound.Tex. Fin. Code Ann. §§ 304.102 & 304.103.
This means that interest will be calculated from the date the suit is filed with the court or at the time your opposition knew that you had a potential claim against them. The court will use the earlier of the two dates. Prejudgment interest will cease to accrue the day before the court awards your settlement.
In addition, the settlement offer should contain a provision for a cash payment. If the settlement offer does not contain an offer for a cash payment, "the amount of the settlement offer for the purpose of computing prejudgment interest is the cost or fair market value of the settlement offer at the time it is made" according to Texas law.Tex. Fin. Code Ann. §§ 304.102 & 304.103. Prejudgment interest does not accrue on future or exemplary damages if the settlement package contains monetary compensation for those damages.
How is Post-Judgement Interest Calculated in Texas?
Post-judgment interest accrues from the date the judgment is rendered. The expiration of post-judgment interest is left to the discretion of the court. Post-judgment interest is set at the prime rate as published by the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors, at least 5% but not more than 15%, compounded annually. The postjudgment interest rate is also used to calculate prejudgment interest in order to prove the amount of interest.
Challenges in Calculating Pre-and-Post-Judgement Interest Rates
After reading the preceding paragraphs, you may have wondered where the difficulty lies in calculating a particular interest rate for your wrongful death case. The problem lies in the variable prime rate used by the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors. This rate changes periodically, if not daily, depending on the economic climate of the United States.
In most cases, an expert will likely need to be hired in order to establish what the rate was on the date interest stated accruing and how that rate should be modified over the course of the accrual period. Also, it takes a seasoned Texas wrongful death attorney who has dealt with this matter previously to accurately, and in the least complicated manner, present the expert's findings to the jury and the court. Hence, Grossman Law Offices can only help your case if you choose to retain our services.
How Can Grossman Law Attorneys Help?
Grossman Law Offices has been serving the public at large for more than 20 years. We have represented countless individuals in our pursuit get them fair treatment. We are well-versed in assessing when pre- and post-judgment interest should accrue and exactly how much is owed to our clients. We can fight for everything that you are seeking from the legal process and much more.
Let us work for you so you can work on moving past tragedy into triumph. Call Grossman Law Offices today for a free, confidential consultation at (855) 326-0000.