Title 21: Labor
Chapter 9: EMPLOYER'S LIABILITY AND WORKERS' COMPENSATION
21 V.S.A. § 678. Costs; attorney fees
§ 678. Costs; attorney fees
(a) Necessary costs of proceedings under this chapter shall be assessed by the commissioner against the employer or its workers' compensation carrier when the claimant prevails. The commissioner may allow the claimant to recover reasonable attorney fees when the claimant prevails. Costs shall not be taxed or allowed either party except as provided in this section.
(b) In appeals to the superior or supreme courts, if the claimant prevails, he or she shall be entitled to reasonable attorney fees as approved by the court, and interest at the rate of 12 percent per annum on that portion of any award the payment of which is contested. Interest shall be computed from the date of the award of the commissioner.
(c) By January 1, 1999, and at least every five years thereafter, the commissioner shall amend existing rules regarding reasonable attorney fees awarded under subsection (a) of this section. In amending these rules, the commissioner shall consider accessibility to legal services, appropriate inflation factors and any other related factors consistent with the purposes of this chapter. In the event the commissioner proposes no change in the rules in any five-year period, the commissioner shall provide a written report to the committee on administrative rules of the general assembly explaining the reasons for not changing the rules.
(d) In cases for which a formal hearing is requested and the case is resolved prior to formal hearing, the commissioner may award reasonable attorney fees if the claimant retained an attorney in response to an actual or effective denial of a claim and thereafter payments were made to the claimant as a result of the attorney's efforts.
(e) An attorney representing a claimant shall submit a claim for attorney fees and costs within 30 days following a decision in which the claimant prevails. (Amended 1961, No. 90; 1969, No. 237 (Adj. Sess.), eff. May 1, 1970; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 9, 1974; 1981, No. 165 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1981, No. 204 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 1997, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 208 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. June 11, 2008.)