There are many ways that a prevailing party in a lawsuit can win an award of attorney’s fees, which means the other party must pay the prevailing party’s costs incurred in hiring an attorney. This can make a substantial difference financially, especially if the lawsuit has gone on for a long period of time. In some instances, the losing party will fight the prevailing party’s request for attorney’s fees. As dedicated North Carolina workers compensation lawyers, we are well versed in the rule that governs claims proceedings, including when you might be entitled to having your attorney’s fees reimbursed.
In a recent lawsuit, the North Carolina Supreme Court considered whether a lower court acted correctly in denying to award attorney’s fees to the plaintiff under a North Carolina statute. The statute in question, N.C.G.S. §97-90(c), state that where an attorney has an agreement for a fee, it shall be filed with the Commission and if the agreement is not unreasonable, it shall be approved.
The worker was employed as a bartender when he suffered two back injuries in 2010. He sought workers’ compensation benefits, which he was awarded. The plaintiff underwent back surgery and therapy, but his disability did not improve and continued to worsen. He eventually required attendant care medical services, which the defendants agreed to provide if they could take the depositions of two of the plaintiff’s doctors. The plaintiff and his attorney modified their retainer agreement at this time to include fees for the attorney in the event that attendant care services were awarded.