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Richard K. Johnson
  • Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation
  • Illinois
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Richard maintains a busy statewide practice representing injured men and women, many of whom are union members. The unique combination of representing labor unions and individual members in work-related injury claims provides Richard the opportunity to integrate the rights and benefits of a union contract with the statutory benefits of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Maximizing these benefits for the injured work is the goal of every case.

Richard has had an active role in establishing the rights of injured workers in repetitive trauma claims, handling the trial and appeal of the cases from the Commission level to the Illinois Supreme Court. In addition, Richard has written “friend of the court” briefs on behalf of injured workers who are not his clients to persuade the Appellate and Supreme Court of Illinois to award compensation benefits. This work is done through the Illinois Trial Lawyers Amicus Committee and on behalf of the United Auto Workers CAP Council. Richard does not charge fees for his “friend of the court” briefing work as he considers it his duty to give back to his profession and to the injured workers who need his help.

Richard’s litigation before the Workers’ Compensation Commission has led to a number of decisions published by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Appellate Court as well as the Illinois Supreme Court. Each of these published decisions resulted in a victory for the injured worker. Richard has successfully tried and settled cases against General Motors, Mitsubishi, General Electric, R.R. Donnelley, ThyssenKrupp and many others.

Richard K. Johnson was named by Best Lawyers as 2016 "Lawyer of the Year in Workers’ Compensation Law - Claimant”. Richard is “AV” Rated by his peers through Martindale-Hubbell, meaning he is considered to have the highest degree of ethics and competency in his field.

Practice Areas
  • Personal Injury
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Free Consultation
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • English
Professional Experience
DePaul College of Law
J.D. (1982)
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Northwestern University
B.S. (1977)
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Lawyer of the Year in Workers’ Compensation Law - Claimant
Best Lawyers
Illinois Super Lawyer in the field of Workers’ Compensation
Super Lawyers
AV Rated
Professional Associations
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
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Association of Trial Lawyers of America
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Articles & Publications
Disability Evaluation
Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education
Illinois Workers' Compensation Practice
Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education
Marketing, Solicitation, and Client Development in a Changing Ethical Environment
American Bar Association
Speaking Engagements
Workers' Compensation, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Workers' Compensation Seminar
Legal Answers
4 Questions Answered

Q. If I decide to take ptd wkly pymnts instead of taking a lump sum in my wc case is that still considered a settlement
A: A hearing before the Commission wherein a worker is awarded permanent total disability benefits will be paid weekly for life. The added benefit of a hearing award is the right to future medical benefits for life for the injury and entitlement to the payments from the rate adjustment fund that are made to protect the award against the erosion of the benefit from wage inflation. An award is different from a settlement.
Q. Trying to figure out an estimate on a workers comp ptd settlement. My wkly ptd rate is $484, my life expectancy is 37.5
A: When was your accident? There is a minimum rate for permanent total disability. You should be able to download a present value calculator to do the computation. A lawyer who is not actually representing you should not be second guessing the lawyer who is representing you.
Q. How is a ptd settlement calculated in IL workers comp?
A: A permanent total disability settlement is calculated by determining the life expectancy of the injured worker. The life expectancy gives us the interest rate equivalent to use, but remember, the insurance company is using its own internal rate of return and not what you or I earn on the amount. We then need to know the weekly amount. These are the three elements necessary to compute the present value of the permanent total disability settlement.
Q. Why haven't opposing counsel returned the contract I signed to settle my w c case since August 2019. I have an attorney.
A: This is a very unusual problem. Perhaps the best thing to do is to have the attorney motion up the case for a hearing before the Commission. There is no way to force a settlement if the other side refuses to sign. I hope this helps you out. If you know your IWCC #, you can look up the status of your case at the Commission. Go to and put your case number into the system to see what the Commission is reporting on your case. Good Luck! Richard K. Johnson Katz, Friedman
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Contact & Map
Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca
77 W Washington St
20th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Toll-Free: (800) 444-1525
Telephone: (312) 263-6330
Fax: (312) 372-5555