• Texas Division of Workers' Compensation Schedules Hearing on Attorneys' Fees Rules for June 16, 2014
  • June 27, 2014
  • Law Firm: Colodny Fass P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Office
  • In a notice issued today, June 9, 2014, the Texas Division of Workers' Compensation ("Division") advised that a public hearing has been scheduled for Monday, June 16, 2014 on the issue of attorneys' fees in workers' compensation cases.

    The hearing will focus on proposed amendments to Texas Insurance Code regulation §152.3, entitled "Approval or Denial of Fee by the Division" and §152.4, "Guidelines for Legal Services Provided to Claimants and Carriers."

    According to the Division, amendments to §152.3 are necessary to address required information that must be submitted to regulators in order to request approval of attorneys' fees, as well as the process by which the request may be submitted.

    It has been determined that amendments to §152.4 are necessary to both increase the number of hours that attorneys and their legal assistants may charge for various activities related to a workers' compensation claim, as well as to increase the hourly rate for attorney and legal assistant services.

    In setting guidelines for 1) maximum fees applicable to claimants' attorneys and 2) reasonable and necessary fees for defense counsel, the Division considered all of the factors under Texas' Labor Code §408.221(d), which requires the Texas insurance commissioner to set guidelines for attorneys' fees paid to claimants' counsel. It also requires that the Division determine necessary and reasonable attorneys' fees for defense counsel.

    Insofar as Section 152.3, the Division is proposing non-substantive changes throughout the Rule, including a renumbering of the subsections for clarity, and a replacement of the term "commission" with "Division" to conform to the proper name of the agency under Labor Code §402.001(b).

    Amendments to §152.3(a) delete the title of the Form "TWC-152" and instead require lawyers to submit an application to the Division for approval of attorneys' fees in the form and manner prescribed by the Division. The proposed Rule includes specific information that an attorney must provide to the Division when requesting approval of attorneys' fees in the new §152.3(b)(1) - (7).

    To be considered, written comments on the proposals must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. (CST) on June 30, 2014. Comments may be submitted via the Internet through the Division's website at www.tdi.texas.gov/wc/rules/proposedrules/index.html, by email at [email protected] or by regular U.S. Post Office mail.