John Powers


John has concentrated 100% of his practice in representing injured workers throughout the State of Illinois, since graduating from The John Marshal Law School and passing the bar exam in 2000.

Since 2002, he has authored the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association’s Workers’ Compensation Notebook Chapter 1 – Procedures Summons-Request for Review.

John has presented multiple seminar topics on workers’ compensation issues for the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Trial Lawyers’ Association.

John drafted amendments to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act that were signed into law in 2005.  Those amendments (1) established criminal penalties for employers who do not obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage; (2) allowed the Workers Compensation Commission to issue Work Stop Orders to uninsured employers; (3) allowed injured workers to opt out of the workers’ compensation system to sue their employer before a jury when the employer was intentionally uninsured; and (4) created the Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund to pay awards of compensation to injured workers whose employers failed to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.

In 2009 received the William J. Harte Amicus Volunteer Award for drafting an amicus brief on behalf of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association before the Illinois Supreme Court in the case of Beelman Trucking v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission 233 Ill.2d 365 (2009) in which the Supreme Court found in addition to being found a “statutory” permanent total and receiving lifelong weekly benefits for 100% loss of use of both legs, the injured worker was also entitled to receive permanency benefits for sustaining 100% loss of use of both arms in the same accident.


In 2010, after the arbitrator, Workers’ Compensation Commission and Circuit Court of Cook County found Agnes Szkubel was not an employee under the Workers’ Compensation Act, John successfully argued before the Illinois Appellate Court that no reasonable trier of fact could have found she was not an employee despite the fact she was undocumented and the employer paid her husband. Skzubel v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission 401 Ill.App.3d 263

In 2011 John negotiated a $1.1 million settlement on behalf of his client in Vandenberg v. Amb Tran Group, Ltd 09 WC 43559.  Also, John was recommended by his peers to be included in the Leading Lawyers Network, which is a distinction that fewer than 5% of lawyers in Illinois receive.  He has continued to receive this distinction every year since 2011.

In 2012, John was recommended by his peers to be named in Best Lawyers in America.

In 2013, John negotiated a $745,000.00 settlement for movie actress who suffered traumatic head injuries while filming a moving in the Chicago area.  Cedillo v. Entertainment Media Specialists 10 WC 39074.  Also in 2013, John successfully argued before the Illinois Appellate Court that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s decision denying benefits to an injured work should be reversed.  The Appellate Court found no reasonable trier of fact could have denied (1) the injured workers’ psychological conditions of ill-being were related to his accident;  (2) he required further medical treatment; and (3) he was entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits beyond the date found by the Commission.  The Appellate Court further found the basis of the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s denial of vocational rehabilitation was invalid. Kawa v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission 991 N.E.2d 433 (2013)

In 2014, Workplace Injury Law Group recognized John as being one of the nation’s top 100 injured workers’ attorneys.

From 2016 to 2017, John chaired the Illinois State Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Law Section

In 2017, John became a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association’s Board of Managers.

In 2018, after spending almost 10 years successfully appealing on behalf of his client, made a full recover.  After the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission reversed the arbitrator’s award of benefits, John appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court and successfully argued the Commission’s denial should be set aside and the case should be sent back to the Commission to make further findings.  After the Commission, again, voted 3-0 to deny compensation, John successfully argued to the Circuit Court that the Commission was required to hear oral arguments.  After hearing oral arguments, the same Commissioners, who had voted unanimously to deny compensation, voted unanimously to award compensation.  Bartolomeo v. Cook County sheriff’s Dept. 07WC54543

Associations & Affiliations

  • American Association for Justice
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
  • Workplace Injury Law Group
  • Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Association

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