Annual Adjustment of Attorney Fees in Workers’ Compensation Claims in Oregon

The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board recently issued a revised Bulletin No. 1 addressing the maximum attorney fee under several statutes. The attorney fees affected by the revised bulletin are provided in ORS 656.262(11)(a) (unreasonable delay or refusal to pay compensation or accept or deny), ORS 656.262(14)(a) (claimant attorney participation in claimant’s statement or deposition), and ORS 656.308(2)(d) (responsibility denial). The maximum attorney fee amount is adjusted annually on July 1 by the same percentage increase, if any, as made to the state’s average weekly wage (SAWW) under ORS 656.211. The reasonable hourly rate for an attorney’s time spent during a claimant’s interview or deposition pursuant to ORS 656.262(14)(a) is also adjusted by the same percentage on July 1.

Effective July 1, 2020, the SAWW is $1,093.41, an increase of 4.693 percent over previous year. Applying the 4.693 percentage increase results in the following maximum attorney fee amounts effective July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021:

  • An attorney fee awarded under ORS 656.262(11)(a) shall not exceed $4,797, absent a showing of extraordinary circumstances.
  • An attorney fee awarded under ORS 656.308(2)(d) shall not exceed $3,459, absent a showing of extraordinary circumstances.
  • An attorney fee awarded under ORS 656.262(14)(a) shall be $366 per hour.

The revised bulletin is available here. If you have any questions regarding the WCB’s Bulletin No. 1, please contact me at (503) 595-2139 or loda@sbhlegal.com.