(a) To claim a fee, an attorney representing any party must submit to the division a complete and accurate application for attorney fees in the form and manner prescribed by the division.
(b) An application for attorney fees must include:
(1) each attorney’s name and bar card number;
(2) the law firm name, phone number, and mailing address;
(3) the injured employee’s name, date of injury, and DWC claim number;
(4) the beneficiary’s name, type, contact information, and social security number, if applicable;
(5) the dates of legal service;
(6) the hourly rate and number of hours for each attorney and legal assistant providing legal services;
(7) an itemized list of each legal service performed and expense incurred representing the claimant or insurance carrier that identifies the attorney or legal assistant who provided the service, the date the service was provided, and the hours or amount requested;
(8) a certification that every statement, numerical figure, and calculation in the application for attorney fees submitted to the division is within the attorney’s personal knowledge, is true and correct, and represents services, charges, and expenses provided by the attorney or a legal assistant under the attorney’s supervision; and
(9) additional case-specific justification for any fee that exceeds the guidelines for legal services.
(c) The division may approve, partially approve, or deny an application for attorney fees based on the division’s determination of whether the requested time and expenses are reasonable according to the guidelines for legal services and maximum hourly rate established in §152.4 of this title, Labor Code §408.221 and §408.222, and written evidence presented to the division. The division will issue an order approving, partially approving, or denying an application for attorney fees. Submission of an application requesting fees for the same services or expenses addressed in any previous application is prohibited. Attorneys are subject to review for compliance with commissioner rules, the Act, and other laws under Labor Code Chapter 414. An order approving, partially approving, or denying an application for attorney fees does not limit the commissioner’s authority to enforce a sanction, administrative penalty, or other remedy authorized by the Act. At any time an attorney whose application is found to contain false or inaccurate information may be referred to enforcement or other authorities, including licensing agencies, district and county attorneys, or the attorney general for investigation and appropriate proceedings.
(d) To contest a division order approving, partially approving, or denying an application for attorney fees, an attorney, claimant, or insurance carrier must request a contested case hearing through the dispute resolution process outlined in Chapters 140 – 144 of this title. A request must be submitted by personal delivery, first class mail, or facsimile to the division no later than the 20th day after receipt of the division’s order. A claimant may request a hearing by contacting the division in any manner no later than the 20th day after receipt of the division’s order. A contesting party other than a claimant must send a copy of the request by personal delivery, first class mail, or electronic transmission to the insurance carrier and the other parties, including the claimant and attorney, on the same day the request is submitted to the division.
(e) After a contested case hearing under subsection (d) of this section, an attorney, claimant, or insurance carrier must request review by the appeals panel pursuant to the provisions of §143.3 of this title (Requesting the Appeals Panel To Review the Decision of the Administrative Law Judge) to contest the division order approving, partially approving, or denying an application for attorney fees.
(f) The division’s order approving, partially approving, or denying an application for attorney fees is binding during the pendency of a contest or an appeal of the order. Notice of a contest or an appeal does not relieve the insurance carrier of the obligation to pay attorney fees according to the division order.
(g) Following a contested case hearing or appeals panel review of an order approving, partially approving, or denying an application for attorney fees under subsection (d) or subsection (e) of this section, the division will issue a final order or decision. If the final order or decision of the division requires an attorney to reimburse funds, the reimbursement must be made no later than the 15th day after receipt of the final order or decision.
(h) This section is effective January 30, 2017.
The provisions of this §152.3 adopted to be effective January 30, 2017, 41 TexReg 10624; amended to be effective January 7, 2019, 44 TexReg 111.