Heyl Royster

Daniel Simmons

Springfield, IL

Joined Firm in 1984

Dan's goal in all cases is to determine the client's outcome priorities and put a litigation strategy in place to achieve the desired results efficiently and economically.

  • Rated AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Experience before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission
  • Tried more than 40 cases to verdict
Read Full Bio

Daniel Simmons

Attorney in Springfield, IL

With 38 years of experience working out of the firm's Springfield office, Partner Dan Simmons provides Casualty and Workers' Compensation defense services in central and west central Illinois. Focusing on casualty cases, primarily automobile and premises liability claims, he is particularly interested in representing employers in construction injury cases where they bring in a third-party defendant for contribution. Dan thrives in the complicated interplay between Casualty and Workers' Compensation, and in these cases, he is particularly well suited for litigation and settlement. 

Dan enjoys trial and has no hesitancy to go to trial if the circumstances warrant. Having tried and arbitrated cases in a number of different venues, he believes an award or judgment alone does not determine whether a case is won or lost. His objective is to resolve the claims consistent with his client's determination of anticipated case value. If the motivation is to seek the best possible means for resolving a case, he works on that goal toward arriving at an early and cost-efficient settlement. In his experience, Dan has found alternative dispute resolution as an attractive means for claim resolution that avoids protracted litigation and potential undue cost and labor. Dan has handled several mediations in complicated claims resulting in settlement of the case.

Dan understands the nature of defense practice in Casualty and Workers' Compensation in central Illinois requires us to work frequently with many of the same plaintiffs and petitioner's attorneys on several cases. Accordingly, it is essential to have trust and mutual respect with opposing counsel to facilitate either working a case up for a trial or toward settlement. Dan has earned an excellent reputation for being fair and honest with opposing counsel and the judiciary. 

Devoting a significant amount of time to his children as they continue in college and enter the workforce, Dan and his wife enjoy attending all University of Illinois home football games as proud Marching Illini parents! Active in the community, Dan is the President of the Leadership Board at St. John's Lutheran Church in Springfield and offers pro bono legal counsel to the Central/Southern Illinois Senate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Additionally, he serves in a non-paid, appointed position as a member of the Petersburg Zoning Board of Appeals.



J.D., University of Iowa

B.A., Augustana College, Political Science, Speech and Humanities

Licensure(s) and Admission(s)

State Courts of Illinois

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Professional Affiliations

Lincoln-Douglas American Inn of Court, Past President

Sangamon County Bar Association  

Community Involvement

Central Illinois Southern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

City of Petersburg Zoning Board of Appeals

St. John’s Lutheran Church

President of the Congregational Council


  • Obtained a dismissal with prejudice on behalf of an Illinois pharmacy following nearly one year of contentious briefing and argument. The plaintiff alleged that the pharmacy failed to warn the patient and healthcare providers that the prescribed amount of medication was hazardous. After substantial motion practice, the court dismissed the plaintiff's claim against the pharmacy with prejudice.
  • Sheffer v. Springfield Airport Auth., 261 Ill. App. 3d 151, 632 N.E.2d 1069 (4th Dist. 1994) – The plaintiff slipped and fell on ice while walking on the tarmac at the Springfield airport from the plane to the gate. The court denied numerous attempts at dismissal, 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. Foster, 157 Ill. 2d 304, 626 N.E.2d 190 (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 Fourth District Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the verdict and comparative fault decisions.
  • Adkins v. Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, 129 Ill. 2d 497, 544 N.E.2d 733 (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 denying the privileges renewal application. However, that issue was rendered moot because of the proper imposition of the summary suspension.
  • Farmer's State Bank and Trust Co. v. Lahey's Lounge, Inc.,165 Ill. App. 3d 473, 519 N.E.2d 121 (4th Dist. 1988) – A drunk driver killed the plaintiff, 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 loss elements 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 the allowed loss of means of support.
  • Crouse v. Benning, 2011 IL App (4th) 101005-U – 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, even though this was a rear-end collision, the plaintiff failed to signal a pending turn as a traffic control device turned green. 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) – In this Workers' Compensation case, the petitioner 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 he was not an independent contractor of Edge Elevator but was under Edge Elevator's control, so it was responsible for the injury under the Workers' 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 was denied.



TTE Programs: Can We Force the Employee Back to Work?,” Heyl Royster's 34th Annual Claims Handling Seminar (2023)

“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)


Change at the Commission: Pro Se Settlements, Redline Cases, and Motions to Withdraw - What You Need,” Below the Red Line - Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Newsletter (2022)


  • Rated AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Media℠ – Workers' Compensation Defense Law, Personal Injury Defense: General
© 2024 Heyl Royster. All Rights Reserved.