Daniel Simmons

Practice Groups:

Workers’ Compensation

Casualty/Tort Litigation

Employment & Labor

Office Locations:

Springfield, IL

Phone: 217.522.8822

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News

60 Heyl Royster Attorneys on Leading Lawyers’ Latest List - 06/29/2017

57 Heyl Royster Attorneys Recognized by Leading Lawyers - 04/22/2016

Nine Additional Heyl Royster Attorneys Selected as Leading Lawyers - 07/26/2013

Education

  • Juris Doctor, University of Iowa, 1984
  • Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude) - Political Science, Speech and Humanities, Augustana College, 1981 

Year Joined Firm

1984

 

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Heyl Royster

 

Attorneys

Daniel Simmons (Partner)

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Dan concentrates his practice in the areas of workers' compensation, third-party defense of employers, and general insurance defense – including auto liability and premises liability.

Dan has extensive litigation experience and has taken more than 40 cases to jury verdict in both state and federal courts. He counsels and represents employers in Central Illinois on workplace risk management, including ways to minimize retaliatory discharge claims. Dan has also arbitrated hundreds of workers' compensation claims before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. He appreciates that clients are often looking to conclude claims in the most efficient and economical means possible, and he strives to achieve every client's goals through motion practice, settlement, or trial.

Dan is a frequent author and lecturer on civil liability and workers' compensation issues, and he speaks to both clients and Illinois attorneys seeking continuing legal education. He has a particular focus on speaking with employers on issues of risk management and injury prevention. For claims that cannot be prevented, Dan works with clients on strategies to effectively bring their matters to a satisfactory conclusion.

Dan has spent his entire legal career at Heyl Royster in the Springfield office. He is a past president and program director of the Lincoln-Douglas American Inn of Court – which is designed to promote legal education, civility and collegiality among members of the bar.

Significant Cases

  • Sheffer v. Simmons Airlines (1994) - The plaintiff slipped and fell on ice while walking on the tarmac at the Springfield airport from the plane to the gate. Numerous attempts at dismissal were denied by the court and the case went to trial. The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded $301,000 and found the airline 80% at fault and the airport 20% at fault. The airport settled for its proportional fault. We appealed on behalf of the airline. The fourth district appellate court reversed the trial court, finding that no duty existed because the fall was on a natural accumulation of snow and ice and that the airline’s original motion for summary judgment should have been granted.
  • Gill v. Aquino, MD (1993) - The plaintiff underwent abdominal surgery in Springfield and was discharged. Not feeling better, he sought care with Dr. Aquino, his family physician and our client. He ultimately had a significant complication that required extensive corrective abdominal surgery. The case went to a jury trial, which found that Dr. Aquino’s delay in sending the plaintiff back to his original surgeon for follow up was the proximate cause of his injuries. The plaintiff was awarded $55,000 and found to be 50% at fault for not going back to his surgeon on his own accord. The original surgeon and hospital settled before trial for $35,000, therefore the net verdict against the doctor was less than the setoff and the doctor owed nothing on the award. The verdict and comparative fault decisions were upheld by the fourth district appellate court and the Illinois Supreme Court.
  • Adkins v. Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center (1989) - A physician had his hospital privileges suspended in part and not renewed in part. The Illinois Supreme Court found that the suspension of the physician was proper because the physician had notice of the claims against him and the hospital committee took action that it was authorized to take under the hospital bylaws. The Illinois Supreme Court also found that the hospital did not properly follow its bylaws when it denied the application for privileges renewal, however, that issue was rendered moot because of the proper imposition of the summary suspension.
  • Farmer's State Bank and Trust v. Lahey's Lounge (1988) - The plaintiff was killed by a drunk driver and her estate brought suit against the establishments where the drunk driver had been drinking before the accident. The case was brought under the Illinois Dram Shop Act. The sole damages being claimed were for loss of domestic services, loss of society and loss of companionship. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants because those elements of loss were not recoverable under the Act. The fourth district appellate court affirmed, finding that elements of loss are limited to those in the Act and the elements of loss were not compensable under allowed loss of means of support.
  • Crouse v. Benning (2012) - Our client was involved in a rear end collision with the plaintiff.  She filed suit for personal injury and the case went to trial in Sangamon County. Our defense was that, despite the fact that this was a rear end collision, the plaintiff failed to signal a pending turn as a traffic control device turned green and that as a result of that failure the plaintiff either was solely at fault for the collision or more than 50% at fault so that her recovery would be barred. The jury returned a defense verdict.  The fourth district appellate court affirmed the defense verdict. The plaintiff’s petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court was denied.
  • 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.

Public Speaking

  • “FMLA, ADA, and Workers’ Compensation Leave Issues”
    Heyl Royster Employers' Day Seminar 2016
  • “Tactics and Strategies to Reduce WC Payout: How to Control Medical Treatment and Return-to-Work Issues”
    Association of General Contractors of Illinois Annual Convention, Springfield, IL 2015
  • “Recent Developments in Tort Law”
    Heyl Royster's 30th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2015
  • “Infectious Diseases: There’s Something Going Around”
    Heyl Royster's 30th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2015

Professional Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois in the areas of Workers' Compensation Defense Law; and Personal Injury Defense: General. Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.

Professional Associations

  • Lincoln-Douglas American Inn of Court (past president and program director)
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Sangamon County Bar Association
  • Central Illinois Claims Adjusters' Association 

Court Admissions

  • State Courts of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit 

Community Involvement

  • Long time member of the City of Petersburg Zoning Board of Appeals.
  • Multiple leadership roles at St. John's Lutheran Church in Springfield, including four terms as president of the congregational council
  • Pro bono counsel for the Central Southern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Co-director of three charitable capital campaigns raising a total of over three million dollars