Employer not liable for claimant’s attorneys fees absent unless employer disputed medical expenses without reasonable ground in workers comp case: RAGER V. CRAWFORD & CO. (SC 6/19/2008)

RAGER V. CRAWFORD & CO.
WORKERS COMP:  Employer not liable for claimant’s attorneys fees absent unless employer disputed medical expenses without reasonable ground
2007-SC-000567-WC.pdf
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
OPINION OF THE COURT
FROM COURT OF APPEALS
DATE RENDERED: 6/19/2008

The workers’ compensation claimant was successful in his defense of a post-award medical dispute with the employer regarding payments of medical bills.  The ALJ awarded claimant’s attorney a fee, but refused to impose liability for the fee on employer, finding that employer had a reasonable basis to contest the disputed expenses. Claimant appealed to the Workers Compensation Board which affirmed the ALJ.  COA affirmed, and SC affirmed.

The Supreme Court affirmed the award of the attorneys fees and held the claimant was required, however, to pay his own attorney fee, absent a showing that employer had disputed the medical expenses without reasonable ground.

By Michael Stevens, ed.

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