Robert H. Hanaford

Since 1982, personal injury attorney Robert H. Hanaford has represented clients in state and federal courts. Learn more about Robert H. Hanaford and his case results below.


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Experience In Complex
Criminal And Civil Cases

Robert Hanaford is an effective trial lawyer with a long record of success, having won tens of millions of dollars for his clients. He has represented clients in some of the most complex civil and criminal defense lawsuits involving death and serious injury resulting from trucking, aviation, construction, workplace, and product accidents.

He has provided counsel on numerous high-profile cases, including construction, rail road, trucking, and aviation accidents that have gained national attention. Robert has represented clients in cases involving FAA, Trucking, Federal Rail Administration, and OSHA safety regulations.

Changing Railroad Safety And Breaking Records

Hanaford was co-lead counsel in a case that changed railroad safety throughout the world. After years of litigation, the traffic and railroad signals at the intersection were proven not to be coordinated and timed properly. After nearly 10 years of litigation against the State of Illinois, Union Pacific Railroad, the bus company, and signal maintenance companies, attorney Hanaford helped settle the case for 27.3 million dollars, a record-breaking settlement at the time.

DUI Defense Cases

Our attorney from the Law Offices of Robert H. Hanaford understands that almost anyone can be arrested for DUI and that DUI cases can be complex. To properly defend a DUI case requires an in-depth knowledge of police DUI investigative procedures, the scientific principles of alcohol and drug testing by breath and blood analysis, and laboratory chemical blood testing procedures. Robert studies and understands these issues

Field Sobriety Tests And Breath/Blood Alcohol Tests

If you had a blood or breath test for drugs or alcohol, the defense of your case must include a challenge to breath and blood test procedures. Robert is experienced in laboratory blood testing procedures. He has attended training on blood testing, including a six-day intensive course at the University of Texas – Arlington on laboratory Blood Drug Analysis.

Robert is certified to instruct the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Field Sobriety Testing Procedure. This roadside field sobriety test is the nationally recognized standard that police use in administering standardized roadside sobriety stunts, namely, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk and Turn (WAT), and the One Leg Stand (OLS).

We call these field sobriety “stunts” because they are designed for failure and are not particularly indicative of impairment from alcohol or drugs. There are specific NHTSA procedures that police must carefully follow in administering the tests. A lawyer must be experienced in cross-examining police officers on these procedures.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Fox River Grove: Bus-Train Crash
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A Chicago-bound commuter express train traveling 70 MPH hit a school bus killing 7 students and injuring many others:
Defendants were the school district, Illinois Department of Transportation, Union Pacific Railroad and signal maintenance companies. The case settled for 27.3 million.

Electrocution Death: Death of electrician on Chicago highrise.

Electrician was electrocuted during the retrofitting of the HVAC system to digital: Owner and General Contractor violated OSHA regulations pertaining to lockout/tagout procedures. Defendants argued that the worker failed to wand the circuit to test for electricity.

Commercial diver death at ComEd nuclear power plant cooling tunnel: Commercial diver doing work on power plant intake valves at a depth of 60 feet went into cardiac arrest. Investigation by Hanaford lawyers and dive medicine experts determined there was insufficient air pressure at the power company dive platform airdrop for the depth of dive. ComEd argued that the employer and driver were at fault. The case settled for 2.5 million dollars.

Tractor Trailer Truck Rear-Ended Motorcycle on Interstate:
Motorcyclist hit from behind and dragged by tractor-trailer truck on Interstate 35 by Madison, Wisconsin. Hanaford attorneys and experts determined that the driver had intentionally violated federal hours of service requirements. Case settled for 2 million dollar insurance policy limits.

Criminal and Fraud Victories

Expand the cases to learn more about the case details.

  • Counseled police officer being investigated by FBI
  • Alleged involvement in the shakedown of drug dealers by city tactical police unit.
  • Represented Chicago suburban contractor
  • Allegedly giving kickbacks to government officials in exchange for government business
  • Represented a doctor who was the subject of a Federal investigation in the Pennsylvania Federal District Court
  •  The doctor was allegedly receiving kickbacks for prescribing a particular device to clients
  • Hanaford and firm were authorized through the Federal District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • Investigated illegal political hiring and firing under the Federal Shackman decree that prohibits hiring or discharging certain protected city employees for political reasons
  • Not Guilty Entrapment. 
  • Represented a University Professor attempting to smuggle cocaine into an Illinois prison to inmates in his prison classes.
  • Represented a US Marshall in an investigation by the FBI
  • Allegedly violated inmate civil rights following a deadly shooting at the US Federal District Court in Chicago.
  • Defense of one the largest mechanical commercial construction companies in the United States that company misrepresented employee worker compensation job classifications 
  • Defrauding insurance company of 5 million dollars in premiums

Bar Association

  • Past Chair, Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Civil Practice & Procedure Section; 2004-2005
  • ISBA Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education; 2008 to 2016
  • CLE Liaison and Coordinator, ISBA Insurance Law, Tort and Civil Practice Sections; 2008 to 2016
  • Civil Practice and Procedure CLE Coordinator, 2005 to Present
  • Co-Editor, ISBA Insurance Law Newsletter, 2004-2016
  • Civil Practice & Procedure Newsletter co-editor, 2005-2009
  • Past Member ADRC Section Council and ADR Section Council
  • Three Terms ISBA Assembly.

Government Positions

  • Appointed by Illinois Governor Jim Edgar to Illinois Workers’ Compensation Review Board, 1993 to Present
  • Appointed through United States Federal District Court to assist in Compliance with the Federal Shackman Decree prohibiting political hiring in Cook County Government employment; 2009-2010

Elective Positions

  • Elected to two four-year terms on the Board of Trustees, Village of Fox River Grove

  • Acted as Village President Pro tempore for the Village of Fox River Grove

  • Chairman of the Department of Public Safety from 1989-1995

  • Elected successive terms as Lake County Republican Committeeman, 2006-2016

  • Elected Nunda Township Republican Precinct Committeeman, 2015-2017

Activities & Additional Successes

  • Frequent lecturer and writer on legal topics, including ISBA seminars on trial practice and insurance law
  • Past instructor for Illinois Northeast Multi-Regional Training (NEMERT) for police and municipal liability under State and Federal Law and control tactics
  • Speaker before the Illinois Major Crimes Assist Team (MCAT) on police liability
  • Assistant Judo Instructor, Chicago Police Judo Club
  • Guardian Ad Litem for abused and neglected children, 20th Circuit Court, Florida
  • Judge for Florida High School Mock Trial Competition through Collier County Bar Association
  • Robert has received awards and leadership appointments for his work, including the Illinois State Bar Board of Governor’s Award for service to the legal profession
  • Robert also writes, edits, and speaks on topics related to trial practice and police DUI procedure. Articles include:
    • Impeachment of Witnesses Using Prior Inconsistent Statements, Inns of Court Collier County (2023).
    • Three Phases of a DUI Arrest, (2017) Chicago Police FOP Magazine
    • DUI Marijuana, (2022) National College for DUI Defense (NCDD)
    • Civil Practice Update, Annual Seminar to Judges and Lawyers of the Illinois State Bar Association (2005-2019).
    • Seven Hot Practice Area, Government Liability, Construction and truck Accidents, Illinois State Bar Association (March 2019).
    • Sufficiency of Expert Opinions, Illinois State Bar Association (2005).
    • Insurance Law Newsletter, Illinois State Bar Association, (2001-2012).
    • Empty Chair Defense, Illinois Trial Lawyers Medical Malpractice Trial Handbook (Past Co-Editor 2009-2014).
    • Police Liability Under State and Federal Law, Presented to Major Crime Assist Team (2014 and 2017).
    • Evidence And Theory Involving Topics Of Expert Testimony, OSHA construction, accident reconstruction, trucking regulations, Illinois State Bar Association (2013).
    • Arbitration of Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Claims, Illinois State Bar Association (2006).
    • Liens and Subrogation Claims, Illinois State Bar Association (2003).