Joe Kolar is a civil trial lawyer with 32 years of experience in Illinois state and federal courts. Joe concentrates his practice in handling serious personal injury cases, including medical malpractice, aviation crashes, train crashes and truck/car crashes. In May 2018, Joe Kolar, Bob Baizer and David Neiman obtained a $25 million verdict in a medical negligence trial in Chicago.
In four other cases resolved before 2018, Joe Kolar and Bob Baizer obtained $78.8 million for their clients. Those cases involved:
- A $29.8 million award against the United States of America for a child who suffered a brain injury from an unnecessary delay in his delivery.
- A $19.4 million Cook County settlement for a brain injury to an adult (following a three week medical negligence trial).
- An $18.6 million Lake County jury verdict for a boy who suffered a brain injury at birth (an Illinois record at the time).
- An $11 million federal jury verdict for the death of an 18-year-old in a truck-car crash.
In December 2014, Joe, as lead attorney, obtained a $4.8 million jury verdict in Chicago for a woman who nearly died from a post-surgery infection. In September 2015, Joe, as lead attorney, obtained another seven-figure jury verdict in Waukegan for the death of a 73-year-old man at a Lake County area hospital. In both cases, the defense made no offers prior to trial.
Joe’s clients have posted on social media (Avvo®) the following about Joe:
- “Joe is the best of the best.” “My family has a new respect for the amazing ability, knowledge, and hard work he puts into cases.”
- “Meeting Joe was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.” “He is an attorney that has a wealth of knowledge that is amazing.”
- His “commitment to me and my well-being has secured my future. He is intelligent, articulate, and above all effective.”
- “Very Great Attorney. Joe knows his stuff and he is very genuine.”
- He “is a professional and compassionate person.” His “work ethic is what our family needed.”
Joe has partnered with Bob Baizer to obtain many other multi-million dollar settlements for injured clients, including a $4.5 million settlement approved in February 2014. Joe was also co-counsel with Bob Baizer in a six-week-long civil trial in Lake County involving computer consulting services. Joe and Bob won the trial against one of the largest law firms in the country.
Joe has an AV Preeminent® peer-review rating by Martindale-Hubbell. “The AV Preeminent® Rating is the pinnacle of professional excellence earned through a strenuous Peer Review Rating process that is managed and monitored by the world’s most trusted legal resource, Martindale-Hubbell.®” Joe also has been regularly named an “Illinois Super Lawyer” for plaintiff personal Injury (medical malpractice and general personal injury).
Joe has lectured to other lawyers on civil trial matters at seminars sponsored by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Lake County Bar Association and the McHenry County Bar Association.
Joe graduated from Illinois State University in 1982. In 1985, he graduated cum laude from Northern Illinois University College of Law. While at NIU, Joe was an editor of the law review and had an article published in the law review titled: “Adoption of a Flexible Standard for Analyzing Informant’s Tips in Illinois v. Gates,” 4 Northern Illinois University Law Review 179-202, 1983. After graduation from law school, Joe took a job with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office in Waukegan. While in the State’s Attorney’s Office, Joe handled complex civil matters at the trial and appellate court level. As an Assistant State’s Attorney, Joe successfully handled the following appeals: Salvation Army v. Department of Revenue, 170 Ill.App.3d 336, 524 N.E.2d 628 (2nd Dist. 1988); Lake County Board of Review v. Property Tax Appeal Board, 172 Ill. App.3d 851, 527 N.E.2d 84 (2nd Dist. 1988)(co-counsel); County of Lake v. Zenko, 174 Ill.App.3d 54, 528 NE.2d 414 (2nd Dist. 1988); Commonwealth Edison Company v. County of Lake, 183 Ill.App.3d 1060, 540 N.E.2d 6 (2nd Dist. 1989)(co-counsel); Kankakee County Board of Review v. Property Tax Appeal Board, 131 Ill.2d 1, 544 N.E.2d 762 (1989)(amicus curiae brief)(co-counsel). In private practice, Joe has successfully handled the following appeals: Poeta v. Sheridan Point Shopping Plaza Partnership, 195 Ill.App.3d 852, 552 N.E.2d 1248 (2nd Dist. 1990)(co-counsel); Pace Realty Group Inc. v. Property Tax Appeal Board, 306 Ill.App.3d 718, 713 N.E.2d 1249 (2nd Dist. 1999); Hackl v. Advocate Health and Hospitals Corp., 382 Ill.App.3d 442, 887 N.E.2d 726 (1st Dist. 2008); and In re Estate of Diaz, 2014 IL App (2d) 140239-U.
Joe is admitted to the Illinois bar (1985) and United States District Court for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois. Joe has also been admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Joe is a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). With AAJ, Joe has been recognized as an “Advocate of Trial Advocacy” by its National College of Advocacy. Joe is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Lake County Bar Association and the Bohemian Lawyers’ Association of Chicago (of which he is treasurer).