Heyl Royster


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Heyl Royster





Heyl Royster has a long tradition of helping businesses and insurers handle workers’ compensation claims in an aggressive but fair and cost-effective manner. In the past, many employers perceived workers’ compensation as just another cost of doing business. In recent years, that perspective has changed as workers’ compensation costs have escalated.

In some states, increased benefit amounts, more frequent penalty awards, and an “employee friendly” Workers’ Compensation Commission have contributed to cost increases. At the same time, legal and economic issues in workers’ compensation cases have become more complex. Medicare Set-Asides, Social Security and disability offsets, frequent claims of permanent total disability, temporary partial disability and wage differential benefits, utilization review, and penalty avoidance are all issues that require attorneys with highly specific knowledge and experience.

Heyl Royster has decades of experience representing insurance carriers, TPAs, and employers in the management and defense of Workers’ Compensation claims. Our attorneys are highly respected by the arbitrators, administrative law judges, and commissioners, in the venues in which we practice, for our experience and integrity. In addition to regularly appearing at docket and review locations, we also counsel clients in related areas such as risk management, ADA, retaliatory discharge, and FMLA. Our clients often ask us to help them achieve the employment culture that best suits their business model. 

Our success is based upon an early analysis of exposure, a realistic understanding of the potential for successful defense, and aggressive trial tactics where appropriate. Through pre-litigation counseling, we assist clients in aggressively managing claims to conclusion that are compensable and need to be paid, and we aggressively defend those cases where the evidence supports a defense. Our reputation for handling claims in this fashion often gives us an edge with arbitrators, administrative law judges, and commissioners when we appear before them for trial.

Our appearance at a Commission hearing will usually alert the arbitrator or the administrative law judge that there may be a substantial problem with a claimant’s case. We aggressively defend our clients when workers are excessive or unreasonable in their demands or their injuries are not caused from a work-related incident. Representing all types of employers, our clients range from small businesses to large manufacturers, including carriers, self insureds, and self insureds with third-party administrators. In addition, we have an Appellate Advocacy Practice dedicated to handling workers’ compensation appeals. 

We literally “wrote the book” on Workers’ Compensation practice in Illinois – two of our partners, Kevin Luther and Bruce Bonds, authored “Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law” published by Thomson Reuters (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018). Our Workers’ Compensation attorneys closely follow trends and developments both at the Workers’ Compensation Commissions and in state legislatures. We served as technical advisers to the Joint Employers during the negotiations that culminated in the 2005 amendments to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. One of our partners is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, where he has taught workers’ compensation law to upper level law students for more than a decade. We are also actively involved in the College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers (CWCL), the Employment Law Committee of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois State Bar Association section on workers’ compensation, and the Illinois Self-Insureds Association.

We are highly regarded within the medical community for our defense of workers’ compensation cases. Due to our extensive experience in multiple venues, we are able to advise our clients on specific doctors and medical providers. We also offer in-house seminars and annual presentations on legal trends affecting workers’ compensation cases, as well as comprehensive updates on recent cases, rate information, and statutory changes. By maintaining a close working relationship with clients, we can help manage their Workers’ Compensation costs through our extensive experience with employers’ varied workers’ compensation environments.

With seven Midwestern offices, we can provide our clients the unique advantage of working with one defense firm in multiple locations. This economy of size is virtually impossible to obtain when dealing with a number of law firms on a smaller scale. By handling a greater volume of cases for a client and having offices close to each of the venues at which we appear, we can offer high quality legal service at a lower cost-per-case. A client who retains multiple law firms throughout the area cannot achieve this type of efficiency and consistency.

Listed below are some of the areas of workers’ compensation law where we are the most active:

  • Medicare Set-Aside issues
  • Fraud referrals to the Illinois Department of Insurance
  • Complex claims
  • Independent contractor issues
  • Death claims
  • Claims of permanent total disability and/or wage differentials
  • Disputes for “accident” and “causation”
  • Psychological trauma claims
  • Claims with multiple respondents
  • Illinois workers’ compensation review and appeals


Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Rate Card/Zone Coverage Map and Contact Attorneys

Chapters from the IICLE Workers' Compensation Handbook

  • Medicare Secondary Payer Statute - PDF
  • Medicare Secondary Payer Statute Update - PDF
  • Social Security Disability Offsets - PDF
  • Social Security Disability Offsets Supplement - PDF

Representative Clients

Advantage Logistics
Archer Daniels Midland
Auto-Owners Insurance
BrickStreet Insurance
Bunge North America
Champaign County Sheriff
Cincinnati Insurance
City of Rockford
Dot Foods
G & D Trucking
Henkels & McCoy, Inc.
Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
Liberty Mutual Insurance
McLean County
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
Pella Corporation
Phillips 66
St. John's Hospital, Springfield
St. Mary's Hospital, Decatur
Supervalu, Inc.
Titan Wheel
Travelers Insurance
University of Illinois

Significant Cases

  • Koch v. Edge Elevator (1999) - The petitioner in this workers’ compensation case worked with his son erecting pole buildings for farmers and rural businesses. Edge Elevator hired the petitioner to frame and erect a pole building on its premises. During construction the petitioner sustained a severe back injury that required surgery and an inability on his part to return to work. The petitioner claimed that he was not an independent contractor of Edge Elevator, but was under Edge Elevator’s control so that it was responsible for the injury under the worker’s compensation act. The arbitrator found in favor of the petitioner and issued an award worth over $250,000. The appellate court, workers’ compensation division, ultimately reversed the decision and agreed with Edge Elevator that the facts showed that the petitioner was an independent contractor and not under Edge Elevator’s control. The award was vacated and the claim denied.
  • Dodson v. Industrial Commission 308 Ill. App. 3d 572 (5th Dist. 1999) Issue of whether employee's fall on wet grass slope while walking to her car after work arose out of her employment.
  • Ealy v. Industrial Commission 189 Ill. App. 3d 76 (1989) Compensability of slip and fall outside of employer's premises.
  • Pryor v. Industrial Commission 266 Ill. App. 3d 497 (1994) Accident occurring on personal farm owned by president of corporation is not compensable.
  • Radosevich v. Industrial Comm’n 367 Ill. App. 3d 769 (4th Dist. 2006) Section 19(i) interest runs from date of award; Section 2-1303 interest commences only when circuit court enters judgment on award under Section 19(g).
  • Bernardoni v. Industrial Comm’n 362 Ill. App. 3d 582 (3d Dist. 2005) Frye standard for evaluating admissibility of expert or scientific evidence applies to workers' compensation proceeding; Illinois does not recognize claims for multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS).
  • Pearson v. Industrial Comm’n 318 Ill. App. 3d 932 (3d Dist. 2001) Outlines steps to establish volunteer fireman status and rejects application of emergency doctrine.
  • Deichmueller Const. Co. v. Industrial Comm’n 151 Ill. 2d 413 (1992) Employer's appeal bond must be signed by individual with authority to bind employer to financial obligation represented by bond; attorney cannot sign unless authorized by said individual.
  • Arlene Bernardoni v. Huntsman Chemical Corp. Applied Frye principle to Illinois workers' compensation in the defense of an occupational disease/exposure claim. 
  • Richard Urbanski v. Deichmueller Construction Co. Defined jurisdictional issue in workers' compensation review.
  • S & H Floor Covering, Inc. v. Workers' Compensation Comm'n 373 Ill. App. 3d 259 (4th Dist. 2007) Court opened the door for giving "an extra degree of scrutiny" to the Commission's decision where the Commission makes credibility determinations regardless of the arbitrator's findings.
  • Farris v. Industrial Comm'n 357 Ill. App. 3d 525 (4th Dist. 2005) Held that in cases where the employee loses five or more days of work during the 52 weeks prior to the injury, the lost time (to the extent not due to the fault of the employee) should be deducted from the wage calculation.


  • "Negotiating an Amputation Rate Calculation,” Below the Red Line, Heyl Royster Workers’ Compensation Newsletter (2020)
  • "Illinois Workers' Compensation Law," 2020-2021 (Vol. 27, Illinois Practice Series), beginning in 2009 and updated and published annually by Thomson Reuters since 2013.
  • “Jurisdictional Concerns in Workers’ Compensation Appeals From the Circuit to Appellate Court,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2019)
  • “The Traveling Employee—Is the ‘Reasonable and Foreseeable’ Standard Eroding?,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2018) - Download Article
  • “Judicial Reviews in the New World of eFiling,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2018) - Download Article
  • “Three Recent Appellate Court Jurisdictional Rulings Should Give Practitioners Pause When Filing Reviews,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2018) - Download Article
  • Corn Belt Energy Corp. v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission: Is an AMA Rating Report Necessary and Should the Defense Obtain One?” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) - Download Article
  • “Recent Appellate Court Decisions Provide Guidance on Analysis of Injuries Resulting from Everyday Activities,” Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2017) - Download Article
  • “The Year in Review – 2016,” Below the Redline, Heyl Royster Workers’ Compensation Newsletter (Special Edition 2016) - Read Article
  • “Recent Decision Addresses What Constitutes ‘Incidental to Employment’ in ‘Arising Out Of’ Analysis,” Workers' Compensation E-clip (2016) - Read Article
  • "A Primer on Recent Cases Impacting Workers’ Compensation Defense," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph (2016) - Download Article
  • "Workers’ Compensation: Never Pay Judgment Interest if You are Not Facing a Section 19(g) Judgment," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article
  • "Employees Innocent, But Injurious Self-Treatment Fails to Break Causal Connection," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2016) - Download Article
  • "Survey of Illinois Law: Workers' Compensation—Understanding Interest and Enforcement Issues in Workers' Compensation Cases Following an Award of Benefits," Southern Illinois University Law Journal (2015) - Download Article
  • Multiple Chapters, Civil Appeals (Illinois): State and Federal 2015, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • "Estate Entitled to Recover Accrued PPD Benefits Regardless of the Existence of Dependents," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
  • "Circuit Court Lacks Jurisdiction Over Common Law Fraud Claims Where Arbitrator Previously Ruled on Fraud Abuse," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2015) - Download Article
  • "Medical Marijuana Leaving a Cloud of Uncertainty Over Employers," Below the Red Line - Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Newsletter (2014) - Read Article
  • "Survey of Illinois Law: Workers' Compensation," Southern Illinois University Law Journal (2014) - Download Article
  • "Recent Advances of the Traveling Employee Doctrine," For the Defense (2014) - Download Article
  • "Illinois Chamber of Commerce Releases Report on Judicial Activism in Workers' Compensation Rulings," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2014) – Download Article
  • "SMART Act Medicare Reforms Become Law," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article
  • "Are Temporary Partial Disability Benefits Subject to a Maximum Rate?" Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article
  • "Illinois Supreme Court Applies the Mailbox Rule to Circuit Court Reviews," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article
  • "Calculating the Credit for Prior Amputation Payments," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - Download Article
  • "The Mailbox Rule and Workers’ Comp: A Better Route for Circuit Court Review," Illinois Bar Journal (2013) - Download Article
  • “What to Do When the Claimant Will Not Comply with a Course of Medical Care,” Below the Red Line - Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Newsletter (2013)
  • "Employers Not Entitled to TTD Credit in 19(g) Proceedings," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2012)  - Download Article
  • "Commission Lacks Jurisdiction Where Petition for Review Filed Prior to Ruling on 19(f) Petition," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2012) - Download Article
  • "TTD in a Post-Interstate Scaffolding World," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2012) - Download Article
  • "Evaluating Permanent Partial Disability Under the 2011 Amendments of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act," Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Update (September 2012) - Download Article
  • "The Defense of Stress Claims," Below the Red Line (2012) - Download Article
  • "Review of a Workers' Compensation Claim," Below the Red Line - Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Newsletter (2011) - Download Article
  • "Medicare Secondary Payer Statute" chapter in Illinois Workers' Compensation Practice, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2011)
  • "Social Security Disability Offsets" chapter in Illinois Workers' Compensation Practice, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2011)
  • "Survey of Illinois Law: Workers' Compensation," Southern Illinois University Law Journal (2010) - Download Article
  • "Medicare and Future Medical Expenses: Does the Super Lien Apply?" Illinois Bar Journal (2010)
  • "Section 8(d)(1) Wage Differentials," Below the Red Line (2010) - Download Article
  • "Illinois Workers' Compensation and the Medicare Secondary Payer Act," chapter in Illinois Workers' Compensation Law (2009-2010 Edition) West
  • "Medicare and Medicaid: Workers' Compensation and Medicare Set-Aside Issues," IDC Conference, Medicare and Medicaid: Avoiding Post-Judgment and Post-Settlement Litigation (2009) - Download Article
  • "Settlement Contracts – New Law and What You Need to Know," Below the Red Line - Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Newsletter (2009) - Download Article
  • "Loaning Employer Not Liable . . ., Personal Comfort Doctrine," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2008) - Download Article
  • "Economic Disability and Earning Capacity: A Historical Analysis for Wage Differential Claims," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph (2006) - Download Article
  • "The Normal Daily Activity Exception to Workers' Compensation Claims," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Monograph (2004) - Download Article
  • "Securing Appeal Bonds in Workers' Compensation Appeals From the Commission," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2003) - Download Article
  • "Medicare, Workers' Compensation and Set-Aside Trusts," Southern Illinois University Law Journal (2002)
  • "Workers' Compensation Practice on Appeal," Northern Illinois University Law Review (2002)
  • "Workers' Compensation in Illinois," National Business Institute (1995)
  • "An Overview of Repetitive Trauma Claims," Illinois Bar Journal (1992)
  • Website Editor: http://www.MedicareApproval.com
  • Author: CompCalc Illinois Workers' Compensation Software, http://www.compcalc.com
  • Website Editor: http://www.IllinoisComp.com