Joined Firm in 2022
An aggressive advocate, Andrew has extensive experience in complex civil litigation and has successfully resolved cases through trial, summary judgment, and mediation.
- Awarded the 2018 Trial Lawyer Excellence Award from The Jury Verdict Reporter
- SLU Law Mentor
- M.B.A., Bradley University
Attorney in Peoria, IL
Andrew Bell has extensive experience in complex civil litigation, having tried numerous cases to verdict in Illinois state and federal courts, including the defense of medical providers and medical institutions, Class I railroads, and Fortune 100 companies. After a brief time away from the firm, Andrew re-joined Heyl Royster in 2022 as an Of Counsel attorney, assisting with our Professional Liability Practice.
An aggressive advocate, Andrew's successful case resolution through trial, summary judgment, and mediation has led to recognition by his peers. Andrew has consistently been named an "Emerging Lawyer" in medical malpractice defense by Law Bulletin Media℠ since 2018. Additionally, he was awarded the Trial Lawyer Excellence Award in 2018, by The Jury Verdict Reporter, for a not-guilty verdict arising from a medical malpractice claim filed in Vermillion County, Illinois.
Andrew met his wife and Heyl Royster Partner, Jessica Bell, in the torts class at Saint Louis University School of Law, where they both graduated in 2009. During law school, he served as an SLU Law Mentor to incoming law students. He earned a Labor and Employment Law Certificate and Concentrations in Business Transactional Skills and Taxation. Following law school, Andrew continued his higher learning path while practicing law, receiving his M.B.A. from Bradley University.
M.B.A., Bradley University
J.D., St. Louis University School of Law
B.B.A., Robert Morris College
Licensure(s) and Admission(s)
State Courts of Illinois
State Courts of Iowa
United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
Association of Defense Trial Attorneys
Greater Peoria Claims Association, Past Board Member
Illinois State Bar Association
National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
Peoria County Bar Association
Illinois CancerCare Foundation, former Board Member
Tazewell County Children’s Advocacy Board, former Board Member
Youth Baseball and Hockey Coach
- Manczur v. Auto Shop, Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illinois – Plaintiff claimed her car was rendered totally inoperable because of negligent repairs. She asked for the car's replacement value, over $6,000, and the jury awarded her $500, less than the pre-trial offer.
- Robinson v. Russell, Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illinois – Auto accident case where Defendant backed into a car after pulling out of her driveway. Plaintiff claimed soft tissue injuries and asked for over $25,000 at trial. The jury returned a verdict finding that the Plaintiff was 50% at fault and awarded less than the pre-trial offer.
- Banks v. Tazewell, USCD IL, 2014 – Plaintiff claimed a sheriff's deputy used excessive force when applying his taser. The jury found the Defendant not guilty.
- (Vermillion County, Illinois 2017) – Represented emergency medicine physician, mid-level provider, and their group in a jury trial. The case alleged failure to diagnose slipped capital femoral epiphysis in a pediatric patient. Obtained summary judgment in favor of mid-level provider immediately prior to trial. At the trial against our clients and co-defendant hospital, Plaintiff asked for $3.5 million. The jury deliberated for 40 minutes before returning a verdict in favor of all defendants.
- (McLean County, Illinois 2018) – Represented the hospital in a jury trial. The case alleged failure to diagnose bowel perforation during an emergency room visit. The 74-year-old male patient returned to the emergency department seven hours after discharge and died two days later, leaving a wife and four adult children. Plaintiff brought claims against our hospital client based on an apparent agency for the conduct of the co-defendant emergency room physician, institutional negligence, and nursing negligence. Summary judgment was obtained immediately prior to trial in favor of the institutional negligence claim. Plaintiff asked for $7.2 million at trial. The jury deliberated for 90 minutes before returning a verdict in favor of all defendants.
- Simmons v. OSF, Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illinois – Plaintiff claimed that an E.R. nurse violently pulled her from a seated position, injuring her previously repaired shoulder. The jury deliberated for over two days before being declared a mistrial due to a hung jury.
- Martin v. Telecom Provider, Circuit Court, Tazewell County, Illinois – Plaintiff was rear-ended on the interstate at highway speeds and sustained a concussion. Plaintiff continued to suffer from migraines following experimental surgery and injections. Before trial, Plaintiff demanded over $3 million. At trial, Plaintiff asked for "more than $1 million." The jury awarded $625,000, which was the value we placed upon the case before trial.
- Joos v. Ragon, Circuit Court, Tazewell County, Illinois – Defendant ran a stop sign and struck Plaintiff's vehicle, which had no traffic control device. The Plaintiff claimed he suffered a torn meniscus, required a knee replacement, and could never return as a bricklayer. At trial, the Court entered a directed verdict on liability in favor of the Plaintiff. Despite the ruling, Defendant was still found not guilty on the issues of causation and damages.
- Young v. BNSF. Circuit Court, Montgomery County, Illinois – Plaintiff was injured on taconite, which was strewn about the railroad tracks. Plaintiff suffered neck and lower back injuries, requiring four separate surgeries. Plaintiff asked for $8.2 million in damages. The jury found that Plaintiff was 30% contributorily negligent and awarded a fraction of what Plaintiff sought.
Other Representative Matters
- Sherman v. BNSF Ry. Co., 1:17-CV-01192-JEH, 2022 WL 138630 (C.D. Ill. Jan. 14, 2022) - Plaintiff filed a FELA claim alleging toxic exposure throughout her career at the railroad. Successfully barred Plaintiff's expert under a Daubert motion and was granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant.
- Rashid v. BNSF (2014) – Represented BNSF in a Warren County, Illinois FELA case. Because of an aggressive defense of the case, Plaintiff filed a motion to dismiss his claims against the railroad. The railroad obtained a stipulation for dismissal with prejudice from the Plaintiff, resulting in no payment by the railroad on the case.
- Higgins v. BNSF, 12-3072, 2014 WL 2598815 (C.D. Ill. June 10, 2014) – Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that his osteoarthritic knee was caused by working as a laborer and machinist for over 34 years with the railroad. He spent the last part of his career as a diesel pit machinist and later as a "ready-side" machinist, preparing locomotive consists for departure. The Plaintiff ultimately underwent a total knee replacement and retired, claiming he could not do the work. Defendant's biomechanical expert found that Plaintiff's job duties were reasonably safe, that the forces of said job duties did not expose Plaintiff to osteoarthritis, and that the injury was not foreseeable. Defendant's orthopedic expert opined that non-occupational factors could explain Plaintiff's condition. The railroad moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence of negligence, that it was unforeseeable that the work would result in a degenerated knee, and that Plaintiff had failed to prove, even under the relaxed standards of the FELA, a causal relationship between the work and the knee degeneration. The Court granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment finding that Plaintiff failed to provide any genuine issue of material fact concerning causation, foreseeability, and negligence.
- Davis v. BNSF – Obtained summary judgment for the client on Locomotive Inspection Act and common negligence claims at the trial court level. The Third District Appellate Court reversed this. The case was later tried for a defense verdict.
- Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Nord, Circuit Court, McLean County, Illinois – The insureds owned a century-old, three-story brick warehouse which plaintiffs claimed was improperly maintained. The warehouse collapsed onto an adjacent commercial structure that housed an optical laboratory. Two laboratory employees were trapped inside the building for a period of time, and all of the highly sensitive optical manufacturing equipment was damaged. A portion of the warehouse also collapsed onto an adjacent bridge and another structure utilized by a plumbing contractor. Seven claimants demanded damages in excess of $8,000,000. The matter was successfully mediated on 7/23/14 for less than 20% of the aggregate demand.
- Hammond v. System Transport, Inc., 942 F.Supp.2d 867 (C.D. Ill. 2013) – Rural intersection accident involving post-impact fire. Double fatality with admitted liability. Prior to trial, the Court ruled that evidence of any negligent acts leading up to the accident was irrelevant. However, the manner of death was within the scope of damages allowable for grief, sorrow, and mental suffering under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. Despite no evidence suggesting either decedent survived the impact, plaintiffs' counsel argued various facts regarding the subsequent fire were relevant. Despite some of the aggravating evidence associated with the fire post-occurrence, the Court ruled that it could not exclude all evidence related to the manner of death or the events surrounding the accident. This was an issue of first impression in Illinois.
- Ms. B V. State Farm, Circuit Court, Tazewell County, Illinois – Plaintiffs' insurance policy lapsed after failing to make timely premium payments. Twenty-one hours after the policy had lapsed, a fire destroyed the plaintiffs' home. The plaintiffs paid their insurance premiums immediately following the fire. The Defendant's insurer advised the insured that the policy was not in force on the day of the fire and refunded a portion of the premium. The plaintiffs filed suit for breach of contract and bad faith against the insurer and agent. The agent was quickly dismissed from the suit. The plaintiffs argued that there were waiver issues and that the insurer had a pattern and practice of accepting late payments without a disruption in coverage. Alternatively, plaintiffs argued that they made advanced premium payments; therefore, the cancellation was improper. The Court granted the Defendant's motion for summary judgment.
- M.R. Z V. Auto Owners Ins. Co., Circuit Court, Peoria County, Illinois – An insured claimed that his pipe had burst in his rental property, causing a significant loss. The insurer denied the claim after learning that the insured had failed to maintain heat and/or winterize the pipes as required by the insurance policy. The insured offered several new theories for the loss, ultimately proven false by the testimony of various witnesses and utility providers. As a result, summary judgment was granted by the trial court, finding that the policy exclusion applied and that the insurance company did not act in bad faith.
- Reeder v. Auto Owners Ins. Co., 2016 IL App (3d) 150252-U – Obtained summary judgment in favor of Auto-Owners in a case where plaintiffs claimed they were entitled to coverage under an insurance policy issued to the car's prior owner. The firm also argued the case before the Third District Appellate Court, which affirmed the trial court's order, holding that following the sale of the car, the prior owners had no insurable interest in the vehicle. In addition, the Court found that the omnibus clause of the policy could not be interpreted as offering coverage to the purchasers of the car.
- Goodman v. Leathers – Plaintiff demanded policy limits after being rear-ended and claimed that spinal injuries prevented him from returning to work as a police officer. After unsuccessful mediation wherein the mediator suggested the case would not be resolved for less than $300,000, the case was settled at the Plaintiff's request for less than half of the mediator's bottom line.
"Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony," International Association of Arson Investigators, Instructor (2016)
"CYA 101: When Do I Contact a Lawyer – After the Accident?," Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show, Peoria (2015)
"College of Trial Advocacy," NARTC (2015)
"2016 Survey of Law – Insurance Law Cases," Illinois Defense Counsel (2016)
"Illinois Appellate Court Erodes the 'Unavoidable Collision Doctrine,'" National Law Review (2015)
"Evidentiary Issues Involving Grief, Sorrow and Mental Suffering," DRI, In Transit (2014)
- Emerging Lawyer by Law Bulletin Media℠, 2018 – 2021 – Medical Malpractice Defense
- 2018 Trial Excellence Award from The Jury Verdict Reporter