The Workers' Compensation Team at Bowles Rice provides aggressive representation of employers before the Insurance Commissioner, Office of Judges, Board of Review, and before the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. In addition to the more traditional defense of workers' compensation claims related to compensability and disability issues, we also assist employers in issues related to workers' compensation rates, industry classifications and other administrative matters that impact workers' compensation costs. We are active in reviewing and commenting upon proposed rules, regulations and legislation in this area to ensure that our clients' views are heard.
In our Charleston office, the team's attorneys and legal assistants devote all or a substantial portion of their practice to workers' compensation issues. In our other West Virginia offices, in Martinsburg, Morgantown and Parkersburg, as well as regional offices in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Virginia, we also have workers' compensation lawyers and staff, and we work as a firmwide team to offer consistently high-quality service.
Our Workers' Compensation Team includes attorneys and legal assistants who have previously worked at the Workers' Compensation Division, and Attorney General's Workers' Compensation Defense Division. We presently represent more than 100 companies in the defense of workers' compensation claims, ranging from small companies with few pending claims to national and international concerns, with more than 1,000 employees. We have handled more than 10,000 workers' compensation matters for our clients.
In addition to our representation of self-insured employers, we serve as panel counsel for multiple workers' compensation insurance companies.
Our firm drafted the workers' compensation legislation introduced by the business community in the 1993 session of the West Virginia Legislature and was active in promoting the legislation in the 1995 session, much of which was incorporated into the reform bill that was ultimately passed.
It is the philosophy of our firm to provide the highest quality legal representation and at the lowest possible cost to our clients. We have trained our workers' compensation legal assistants to perform more routine tasks, reserving our lawyers' time and energy for those matters requiring legal knowledge and skills involved in the defense of workers' compensation claims. We have computerized the docketing and case management of our practice to enhance efficiency and to insure that the bureaucratic and paper-intensive nature of the practice do not hamper our goals to complete litigation efficiently and effectively. Additionally, we have interfaced electronically with several third-party administrators, and can directly access computer information related to our mutual clients. With our statewide West Virginia presence and video conferencing at all of our West Virginia offices, we also minimize certain travel expenses relative to attendance at hearings, depositions, and appearances before the Insurance Commissioner, Office of Judges, Board of Review and Supreme Court of Appeals.
We offer a variety of fee arrangements, including standard hourly rate structures, blended hourly rates, and fixed retainer agreements in an effort to creatively team with our clients to reduce overall costs related to the workers' compensation system. Working closely with in-house staff and third-party administrators, we offer training that assists clients to pre-screen claims and to implement procedures that reduce costs. Once the decision has been made to litigate claims, we aggressively defend our clients' interests in an effort to minimize employer losses.
Articles & Alerts
- "Employers Beware! You Could Be Sued for Deliberate Intent Even if Your Employee Fails to Bring (or Loses) a Workers’ Compensation Claim," by Ronda L. HarveyMountain State Manufacturing Magazine, Fall 2011
Views & Visions
- Creating a Winning WorkplaceWinter 2007
Permanent Partial Disability
Permanent Total Disability
Temporary Total Disability (Closures and Reopenings)
Treatment (Reopenings and denial of treatment)