Attorney Fees for Claimant Statements/Depositions

Anderson, Kevin_webAs of January 1, 2016, worker’s attorneys have been entitled to a new hourly attorney fee for “actual time spent during the personal or telephonic interview or deposition.” ORS 656.262(14)(a).

These statements are taken as a part of the injured worker’s duty to cooperate with the investigation of a claim. The attorney fee only applies to statements or depositions by the worker, not medical experts. The worker must be represented at the time of the statement for the attorney to be entitled to a fee.

The WCB has issued new administrative rules to clarify the procedure for requesting and paying these new fees. See OAR 438-015-0033. Generally these procedures were designed to mirror a cost bill at hearing.

  • A reasonable hourly rate for an attorney’s actual time spent during a personal or telephone interview or deposition conducted under ORS 656.262(14)(a) is $275. OAR 438-015-0033(1).
  • If the worker is represented, the insurer must pay a reasonable fee, based on the actual time spent during the statement/deposition multiplied by $275. OAR 438-015-0033(2).
  • A worker’s attorney must submit a bill to the insurer within 30 days of completion of the interview/deposition. The bill must contain:
    • An itemization of the actual time spent during the interview or deposition
    • The attorney’s signature confirming the claimed time was actually spent on the interview/deposition, and
    • a copy of an executed retainer agreement. OAR 438-015-0033(3).
  • The insurer must either pay the bill or request a hearing within 30 days of receiving the attorney’s bill. OAR 438-015-0033(4), (5).

SBH is seeing these requests come in more frequently. Make sure any such requests also contain the necessary documents and please note the 30 days payment deadline.

If you have any questions or concerns about these new fees, please contact me at kanderson@sbhlegal.com or 503-595-2130.