Katrina Taraska Simon
My professional philosophy can best be described in the words of former British politician Neil Kinnock - “Compassion is not a sloppy sentimental feeling for people who are underprivileged or sick... it is an absolutely practical belief that regardless of a person's background, ability or ability to pay, he should be provided with the best that society has to offer.”
Born Staten Island, New York, 1968; Admitted to bar, 1995, Illinois. Education: University of Illinois, Bradley University (B.S., 1991), Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE (J.D., 1995).
Originally from the East Coast, Katrina M. Taraska grew up in a family of seven in Peoria, Illinois. Her mother was a language teacher proficient in French, Italian and Spanish who devoted her time to the enrichment of the lives of her students while teaching at area schools. Her father, a dedicated pathologist, was one of the four original founders of the Midwest affiliate of St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which provides care to children with childhood diseases.
Unique to Ms. Taraska’s chosen career in personal injury law, she was the victim of a propane gas explosion, in which a commercial building collapsed on her, her mother, brother and a close family friend. The explosion left Taraska with extensive second and third degree burns early in her life. She was hospitalized for 3 months, during which she underwent skin grafting of her arms, legs, hands, and chest. Incredibly, a year prior to the explosion, Ms. Taraska’s father and a reconstructive surgeon opened the only downstate burn unit in Peoria where she was successfully treated despite the severity of her burns. It is this life changing event that has played a significant role in Ms. Taraska’s career of representing the injured.
After graduating from law school Ms. Taraska has successfully represented clients and their families in complex litigation.
In 1995, Katrina Taraska began practicing law in downstate Illinois where she grew up. In 2000 she became a partner with a Peoria law firm where she enjoyed the privilege of advocating for her clients in their respective claims for personal injuries, medical negligence, workers compensation, and employment discrimination. She frequently appeared before the Circuit Court of Peoria County, Illinois, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Employment Security, and in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois.
In 2009, Ms. Taraska joined the Chicago law firm of Goldberg & Goldberg, where she continued her professional experience as a Plaintiff’s lawyer in tort litigation. As a focus of her practice, she concentrates on representing individuals and their families in catastrophic medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. Her cases have involved spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, complications from surgical procedures, cardiovascular injuries, birth injuries, interventional radiology, infections, negligence in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries involving alleged abuse and neglect, gynecological and obstetric injuries, and products liability cases. Ms. Taraska also represents individuals involved in transportation accidents (railroad grade crossings, motor vehicle accidents, and semi-truck collisions), as well as premises liability claims, and injuries from assault, battery and false imprisonment.
Throughout her career Ms. Taraska has been active in professional organizations including the Peoria County Bar Association, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the American Inns of Court (Abraham Lincoln Chapter), the National Employment Lawyers Association, and the Chicago Bar Association. She has been guest writer for the Peoria Woman Magazine and enjoys mentoring younger lawyers in their professional endeavors.
Ms. Taraska is a member of the Catholic Church and is active in the service of those individuals in need in the local community.
J.D., Widener University School of Law, 1995
B.S., Bradley University, 1989-1991
University of Illinois, 1987-1989
Since joining the firm in 2009, Ms. Taraska has contributed to the generation of more than $52 million dollars in settlements and verdicts. Noteworthy cases include:
- $13,800,000.00 Verdict, Cook County. Lead trial counsel verdict reduced by 10% for contributory negligence in a wrongful death motor vehicle accident case against the City of Chicago.
- $11,000,000.00 Settlement, Cook County. Lead Counsel. Pre-trial settlement of medical malpractice case involving failure to timely diagnose infection of intensive care patient.
- $10,000,000.00 Settlement, Cook County. Co-counsel at trial involving pedestrian semi-trailer truck case.
- $7,500,000.00 Settlement downstate, IL. Co-counsel at trial of medical malpractice case involving postoperative paralysis of patient.
- $7,500,000.00 Settlement downstate, IL. Co-counsel. Pre-trial settlement of medical malpractice case involving failure to maintain spine precautions resulting in paralysis of patent.
- $1,250,000.00 Settlement, Cook County. Lead Counsel. Pre-trial settlement of medical malpractice case involving postoperative ischemia and infection of breasts following breast reduction.
- $800,000.00 Settlement downstate IL. Lead Counsel. Pre-trial settlement of medical malpractice case involving failure to timely diagnose DVT/Pulmonary embolism.
- $500,000.00 Settlement downstate IL. Co-counsel at trial of medical malpractice case involving a failure to timely diagnose infection of the elbow joint."
I was registering Jessica for High School at Metamora High, my alma mater, and all of a sudden I remembered that all of this wouldn’t be possible without all your selfless efforts over the past 14 years. Like I told you about 4 years back, you are my Kwan. You’d have to watch Jerry McGuire to really get that reference though. J I’ll try to be brief and explain. Tom Cruise in a talent agent for a talented yet looked over Pro football player. Several other agents want this player but he sticks with Cruise through thick and thin…completely believing that whatever happens it will be Cruise that will make it happen. The black ball player tell Cruise, with tears in his eyes, that Cruise in his “Kwan” and not matter what he believes completely in his ability and he trusted Cruise to get the job done if it was possible to make happen.
Sorry not so brief, but, You my dear are my “Kwan!” My life has changed in so many ways and my daughter’s has too. My favorite change is this home we found in Germantown on White Oak Lake. It’s on the end of a cul de sac and our house is next to the beach access road. I just had a ramp built from the drive way across the front of the house and it ties onto the deck the covers all the side of the house on the lake side. On the 4th of July, we had about 15 people over and roughly 7 neighbors (around the lake) put on the most impressive one hour fireworks display. And the best part was I didn’t have to leave my house to see the BEST fireworks show I’d ever seen. That reality brought tears to my eyes!
I put a large generator on the house last week to keep me safe in my elevator and inflatable mattress on my bed. I lived in the house for 2.5 months before I saw the up N down stairs! Now that I can visit them exploring the homes possibilities has really grown. My apartment in Washburn had a pristine living room view of the dumpster; now my view is an elevated view over looking our private beach in the foreground and beautiful lake in the background. My 5’ wide ramp goes up through the area where those bushes set in this picture and ties into the side deck. Better view than the dumpster, huh?
Any how, I wanted to drop you a note telling you how truly grateful I am and I wanted you to see the shell of our new home which we plan to have many happy memories inside!!!!! God bless and thanks for that assist with jonathon’s helper. You seem to pop into my life when I need you most. If you had wings i’d be certain you were my guardian angel. I can never thank you enough for what you’ve done for me and my family. I’ll keep in touch from time to time so you can see the fruits of your labor! Warmest wishes for you and yours, Kat.
- Scott N Jessica”
It’s hard to believe its been over three since I first contacted you and now its over. You will never know how much you’ve done for me. As you know, I was hesitant about filing a lawsuit. I wanted answers... The fact that you took my case helped me feel vindicated that what happened was wrong. I had horrible insomnia... even with medication I could not get it out of my head....Once the case settled it left my head. I could sleep again... I don’t think I realized how much of my self-confidence was taken away... By winning this case you gave me back my confidence and I will always be grateful to you for that.... You have been an awesome attorney, instructor of the law, chauffeur and friend".
When you hear or read about lawyers who claim they will provide aggressive representation, exactly what does that mean? As lawyers, we are in the evidence business. Ok Counsel, so what sort of evidence do you have that will tell me you will really provide "aggressive" representation if I retain you to handle my case? Well, here is what an experienced Law Division judge said on the record, during a hearing. His remarks were made to the defendant’s lawyer during a highly adversarial case: “Listen, maybe you have never come across a plaintiff’s attorney who’s as bulldoggish as we have in this case. I don't mean that [with] disrespect or a derogatory term. I mean that with do respect to you [Ms. Taraska]”.
- Law Division Judge
Episode 103: Joseph Preiser, Katrina Taraska & Ian Alexander | Estate of Sabanovic v. City of Chicago | $13.89 million verdict Listen to the Podcast