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RULE §152.5Allowable Expenses

(a) As part of the application for attorney fees, an attorney shall submit an itemized list of expenses incurred for the preparation and presentation of the client's case. The date, nature, and amount of the expense shall be clearly identified.

(b) The commission shall allow those expenses necessary for the preparation and presentation of a person's claim or a carrier's defense before the commission, including:

  (1) travel expenses, at the rate set for state employees by the legislature for state employees in the General Appropriation Act, if the attorney is required to attend a benefit review conference or hearing more than 25 miles from the attorney's office nearest to the location of the conference or hearing;

  (2) expenses necessary to present a case at a hearing including subpoena costs, court reporter's fee, per diem witness fees incurred, and translator's fee;

  (3) the costs of records necessary to prepare or present a claim or defense including copies of commission files, a record check performed by the commission, medical reports (except medical reports required to be provided by commission rule), and copies of certificates, licenses, and decrees necessary for perfecting a claim for death benefits;

  (4) costs of long distance telephone calls to: the client, an attorney or other representative of the other party, health care providers, or others necessary to prepare the claim or defense;

  (5) costs of collect long distance telephone calls from the client; and

  (6) investigative services necessary to establish or dispute a claim.

(c) The commission shall not allow as attorney expenses those expenses that are not necessary for the preparation and presentation of a party's individual claim or defense before the commission, including:

  (1) attorney travel, except as permitted in subsection (b)(1) of this section;

  (2) overhead costs of operating a law office including: rent, utilities, copies, fax, telecopier, postage, shipping, local telephone calls, long distance calls to the commission, and salaries for general office staff; and

  (3) medical reports and hospital records that commission rules require to be sent to the claimant and carrier.

(d) An attorney's payment of out-of-pocket expenses for items listed in subsection (b) of this section does not constitute a loan to the client as prohibited by the Texas Workers' Compensation Act, §10.03.

Source Note: The provisions of this §152.5 adopted to be effective February 22, 1991, 16 TexReg 774.

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