APPEAL from the Circuit Court of McLean County; the Hon. JAMES
A. KNECHT, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
We are faced here with a question of what awards under Workers' Compensation are entitled to interest.
The facts of this case are largely undisputed. They are discussed only to the extent necessary to illuminate the legal issues presented.
Plaintiff filed a claim under the Workers' Compensation Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.1 et seq.) for injuries received while employed by the defendant. On December 29, 1978, an arbitrator entered an award in favor of the plaintiff providing for payment of: (1) $6,596.38, representing sums due for temporary total disability and a portion of the award for permanent partial disability; (2) $3,032.23 for medical expenses; and (3) $106.67 per week for a specified period as the balance of compensation for permanent partial disability.
The arbitrator's decision was appealed to the Industrial Commission which affirmed on January 4, 1980. On that same date defendant paid sums representing: (1) $6,596.38 plus interest from the date of the arbitrator's award; (2) $3,032.23 for medical expenses, without interest; and (3) a sum representing $106.67 per week from the date of the arbitrator's award to the date of payment, without interest.
Interest on the second and third portions of defendant's payments is now the subject of this dispute.
Plaintiff then filed an application for judgment in the circuit court under section 19(g) of the Act, seeking: (a) interest on the weekly payments which came due after the arbitrator's award; (b) interest on the medical payments from the time of the arbitrator's award until payment; and (c) attorney's fees. The trial court found for the defendant and plaintiff appeals.
In arguing that he is entitled to interest, plaintiff relies upon section 19(n) of the Act:
"All decisions of the Industrial Commission confirming or increasing an award entered by an arbitrator of the Commission shall bear interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of the arbitrator's award on all compensation accrued." (Emphasis ours.) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 48, par. 138.19(n).)
Plaintiff claims the clear intent of the above-quoted section is that interest is computed on any sums held to be due by the arbitrator plus any compensation accruing thereafter.
• 1 The plain language of section 19(n) sets forth the date of the arbitrator's award as the date from which interest is computed. The section also defines the sums upon which interest is computed on all compensation accrued. The use of the past tense "accrued" is significant. When read in conjunction with the clause which immediately precedes ...