Daniel J. Downes is a Chicago-based personal injury attorney with nearly 50 years of experience representing clients following serious or catastrophic injuries. As designated legal counsel for multiple rail worker unions, Downes specializes in cases involving the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). The former Chicago police detective has dedicated his legal career to protecting the rights of injured workers. He has handled hundreds of cases involving railroad employees and their families, obtaining substantial settlements and verdicts in Illinois, the Midwest and across the nation.
Downes is a licensed attorney in Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska. He has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and in numerous U.S. district courts.
Downes boasts extensive expertise in cases involving rail workers’ insurance, the Railroad Retirement program, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) and the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), which is designed to provide whistleblower protection. He proudly serves as designated legal counsel for the American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA), the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) and SMART TD.
Unlike workers in other industries, railroad employees are not eligible for workers’ compensation. Instead, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) provides protection for railroad workers who were injured or killed. Because so few attorneys have expertise in this highly specialized area of law, railroad unions may designate and approve FELA attorneys to counsel their members. Downes is available 24/7 for free consultations and can be reached at 312-953-5839.
Before joining Cavanagh Law Group in 2021, Downes most recently ran a personal injury firm in downtown Chicago. His breadth of experience includes representing clients in matters involving maritime, aviation and interstate commerce law.
Downes graduated from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1972. He is an 18-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department who worked as a detective while attending school. Downes is a former president and current member of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys and has held memberships in the Illinois State Bar Association, the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Nebraska State Bar Association.
Downes lives on the Northwest Side of Chicago. He is a licensed pilot and the proud father of Meghanne, who followed in his footsteps as an attorney.