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.

Increased benefit amounts, more frequent penalty awards and an "employee friendly" Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission have contributed to these cost increases. At the same time, the 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 issues that require attorneys with expertise and experience.  

Heyl Royster's workers' compensation attorneys are uniquely able to meet this need. We handle all types of matters relating to workers' compensation and employer liability. In addition to appearing at every arbitration call and review location, we also counsel our clients in the related issues of risk management, ADA, retaliatory discharge and FMLA. We are available to counsel our clients on how to achieve the employment culture that best suits their business model. 

With six offices throughout the State of Illinois, we can provide our clients the unique advantage of working with one defense firm for all of their workers' compensation cases statewide. 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 offer the highest quality of legal service at a lower per case cost. A client who retains multiple law firms throughout the state cannot achieve this type of efficiency. 

Our attorneys are also highly respected by the arbitrators and commissioners of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, for their expertise, experience and their integrity. We aggressively defend our clients before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission when workers' claims are not work related or petitioners are excessive or unreasonable in their demands. Our appearance at the Commission will usually alert the arbitrator that there may be a substantial problem with a petitioner's claim. 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 Department dedicated to handling workers' compensation appeals. 

Heyl Royster workers' compensation attorneys closely follow trends and developments both at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and in the Illinois Legislature, so that we can stay ahead of the game. We served as technical advisers to the Joint Employers during the negotiations that culminated in the 2005 amendments to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. We are actively involved in 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. 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 the past eleven years. No firm can boast the experience and expertise of Heyl Royster. 

We are also highly regarded within the medical community for our defense of workers' compensation cases, and due to our extensive experience throughout the State, we are able to provide our clients advice and expertise 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 a total awareness of the Illinois workers' compensation environment.

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 Zone Coverage and Contact Attorneys - PDF

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

How to Defend High Exposure and Catastrophic Workers' Compensation Cases
An interview with Bruce Bonds.

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
Metropolitan Water District of Greater Chicago
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.
  • S & H Floorcovering, Inc. v. Workers’ Compensation Comm’n 373 Ill. App. 3d 259 (4th Dist. 2007) Court signaled intent to give deference to arbitrator's fact-findings where Commission reverses arbitrator's conclusions without the Commission having received any new evidence.
  • 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.


  • "Section 8(d)(1) Wage Differentials," Below the Red Line (2010) - Download Article
  • "Illinois Workers' Compensation Law," 2017-2018 (Vol. 27, Illinois Practice Series), updated and published by Thomson Reuters (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016)
  • "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
  • “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
  • 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
  • "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
  • "The Mailbox Rule and Workers’ Comp: A Better Route for Circuit Court Review," Illinois Bar Journal (2013) - Download Article
  • "SMART Act Medicare Reforms Become Law," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (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)
  • "Calculating the Credit for Prior Amputation Payments," Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly (2013) - 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
  • "Employers Not Entitled to TTD Credit in 19(g) Proceedings," 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
  • "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)
  • "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
  • "Workers' Compensation Appellate Procedures," ABA Committee Newsletter (2007)
  • "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)
  • Website Editor: http://www.MedicareApproval.com
  • Author: CompCalc Illinois Workers' Compensation Software, http://www.compcalc.com
  • "An Overview of Repetitive Trauma Claims," Illinois Bar Journal (1992)
  • Website Editor: http://www.IllinoisComp.com
  • "The Defense of Stress Claims," Below the Red Line (2012) - Download Article