Matthew Coleman prosecutes work injuries before the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission as well as the third-party claim that arises from the incident. He has all the attributes of a skilled attorney: He’s knowledgeable. He works hard for his clients. He’s a savvy negotiator and is committed to research. But what sets him apart from other workers’ compensation experts in the city? It’s his home.
Coleman grew up on the south side of Chicago where family, respect for neighbors, and hard work are the priorities. He grew up around Teamsters, building tradesmen, firefighters, police, and teachers. He worked as a garbage collector in law school. Over the years he listened and learned the inside operations of each industry and trade. This makes him particularly effective in prosecuting workers compensation claims.
Successful results have been common. One nominator pointed to a successful jury verdict that Coleman earned against the Metra commuter rail system in the case Hoffman v. Metra, in which Coleman represented a plaintiff who suffered a broken hip after being knocked over by a ticket agent.
The client who Coleman represented originally retained the Oak Park-based law firm of Coplan + Crane. But Ben Crane with that firm decided that Coleman would be a better fit, and reached out to the young attorney. This was a smart move. Crane said that Coleman turned a difficult case into a $500,000 verdict.
“Matt got the best verdict Mr. Hoffman could have ever gotten," Crane said. "I am very proud of Matt." Coleman successfully defended the appeal now cited by plaintiff’s attorneys to support the admission of employee work rules at trial as evidence of negligence.
This is far from the only successful verdict Coleman has earned. He took part in achieving a $5.4 million verdict against the Union Pacific Railroad while representing a mechanic who was injured after slipping on a diesel leak while repairing a locomotive. “Matt’s general knowledge of the internal safety and operating rules of railroads were vital in the prosecution of the case,” said Christopher Norem name partner at the Chicago firm of Parente & Norem.
Coleman also negotiated a $1.1 million settlement for a police officer who suffered a disc herniation, a $970,000 settlement for a union roofer who fractured his right wrist and a $500,000 settlement on behalf of a restaurant patron who slipped and fell, suffering an open complex fracture.
Though a zealous advocator Coleman makes a priority of maintaining relationships among the bar.
“He always goes above and beyond what would be considered ‘professional’ representation of a client to ensure there is no stone left unturned,” said attorney John O’Halloran. “He is not intimidated by well-known and respected legal opponents, but at the same time he maintains a respectful and professional demeanor toward them. This, in turn, has earned him the respect of his legal opponents.”
“Matthew is a truly great person and lawyer,” said Vincent Petrosino, with the Chicago law firm of Serpico, Petrosino, DiPiero & O'Shea. “He is exceptionally competent and accomplished, yet he remains extremely humble. He personifies the traits that we all as lawyers strive for. He uses his talents as an educator to mentor and educate his clients.”