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New Hampshire: Appeals Board Must Consider Future Medical Benefits in Conjunction With Employee’s Attorney Fee Request

July 08, 2016 (1 min read)

Acknowledging that contingent fee arrangements in workers’ compensation cases were not per se unreasonable, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire held it was error for the state’s Compensation Appeals Board (CAB) to follow what amounted to a blanket rule that an injured employee’s future medical expenses were always speculative and that the estimated amount of future benefits could not, therefore, be demonstrated for purposes of computing the attorney’s contingent fee. Here the employee was injured in a workplace accident in 2006, which rendered him a quadriplegic. He ultimately was awarded workers’ compensation ongoing weekly total disability benefits and medical benefits. The employee argued that, pursuant to his contingency fee agreement with counsel, he was entitled to fees in the amount of one-third of “[t]he total amount of past medical bills, past benefits, plus future medical bills and future benefits including likely future permanent impairment and future indemnity payments.” Based upon his calculations, the employee requested a fee award of $4,138,200.90, inclusive of expenses. Instead, the CAB awarded $79,369.59, based essentially on an hourly billing basis. The Court remanded the case for a reconsideration of reasonable fees, indicating the CAB must at least consider the employee’s argument as to the future value of the benefits.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Appeal of Phillips, 2016 N.H. LEXIS 65 (June 28, 2016)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 133.03.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.









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