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Kurt Niermann Workers

Kurt Niermann


Kurt has been practicing in northern Illinois for three decades, focusing on workers compensation claims, personal injury claims, maritime claims and labor issues.   He has tried a large number of cases to verdict over his career, pursuing awards through any level of appeal necessary to protect the rights of his clients.   

Kurt has handled an exceptionally wide range of cases for clients, including traumatic injury claims, repetitive trauma claims, heart attack claims, cancer claims, and a variety of occupational disease and occupational exposure claims.   He is honored to have represented clients from all segments of the workforce, including teachers, stylists, clerks, tradespeople, professors, lawyers, nurses, doctors, airline pilots, baggage handlers, pharmacists, police officers, truck drivers, firefighters, longshoremen and seamen.

Kurt is one of a handful of attorneys who has successfully linked brain cancer to an exposure of electromagnetic radiation.  He was the first lawyer in the state to establish that maritime law applied to riverboat casino workers.  He also won one of the largest penalty and fee awards against a misbehaving insurance company in a workers' compensation case.

Kurt has recovered many tens of millions of dollars for clients over his career.  Illustrative cases include:

  • a $2,399,000 recovery for an Ohio truck driver injured in Illinois. This case required litigation in both Ohio and Illinois  
  • $1,700,000 plus hundreds of thousands in medical expenses for a different truck driver who fell while exiting her cab
  • $2,060,000 for an injured tradesman
  • $1,063,000 for the family in the electromagnetic radiation case plus hundreds of thousands in medical expenses
  • $ 1,000,000 in a combination of benefits for a Sheriff’s deputy

Our worker’s compensation system was designed to place hard and modest caps on case values.   However, the right lawyer can still have a major impact on your success in the system.  Consider a few occasions where Kurt agreed to take over a case for someone who was not happy with their lawyers:

  • Kurt took over the Ohio truck driver’s case after a respected Chicago firm abandoned the case after recovering a $100,000 insurance policy
  • Kurt stepped into a case which had languished for a decade in the hands of three established Chicago workers comp firms.   The efforts of those firms resulted in a total offer of $17,000.  Kurt worked the case up properly, obtaining $500,000 in permanency benefits, hundreds of thousands of dollars more in medical bills and securing lifetime medical coverage for the client
  • Kurt signed on to the electromagnetic radiation case when multiple premier Chicago personal injury firms were hesitant to risk their resources on the case

These examples are offered for illustration only and do not guarantee any result in any future cases.   

On the labor front, Kurt and Kim Presbrey fought through federal, state and arbitration forums to delay the shutdown of a local manufacturing operation, extending work for hundreds of workers and costing the employer $20,000,000 in the process. 

Kurt is also active in preserving the rights of victims through publications, professional memberships and practice in the appellate and supreme courts.  He has authored numerous articles for lawyers on worker’s compensation and maritime topics, including book chapters on wrongful discharge claims and maritime injuries, and has lectured to lawyer groups at a variety of seminars.  He is a proud member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA), the Kane County Bar Association, the Worker’s Compensation Lawyers Association and the federal trial bar. 

Kurt also writes amicus (friend of the court) briefs to our Supreme Court to protect all injured workers in Illinois.   Kurt's work in this area has covered the most important workers comp cases over the last 20 years:

Sisbro v Industrial Commission, 207 Ill.2d 193 (2003)-  Kurt and Michelle Porro participated in a successful ITLA group effort in this landmark case.   This case eliminated a set of arbitrary hurdles which blocked injured workers from survival benefits and medical care. 

Interstate Scaffolding v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, 236 Ill.2d 132 (2010)-  Kurt authored the successful amicus brief for ITLA in this important case.  The case established that employers could not fabricate excuses to cut off survival payments to the worker.  

Corn Belt v. Lind-  Kurt helped to defeat a coordinated effort by business groups to eviscerate the workers’ compensation system.    Kurt drafted the opposition briefs, convincing the Supreme Court to throw out the employer’s attack on the system. 

West Bend Insurance Co v. Bernardino, 2020 IL 124690 -  Kurt also authored the successful amicus brief for ITLA in this case, knocking out a legal doctrine which insurance companies were using to freeze workers comp claims in their tracks. 

McAllister v. Northpond, 2020 IL 124848 -  In a second win at the Supreme Court in the same year, Kurt wrote the amicus brief for ITLA on this blockbuster of a case.    Kurt helped to defeat a different arbitrary legal doctrine which threatened to throw half of the workforce out of the compensation system.    Kurt had earlier appealed these same issues to the US Supreme Court in Faust v. Cadence Health.