Description The purpose of this bill is “to improve the efficiency of the workers’ compensation system by allowing attorney’s fees to be included in costs that may be assessed against a party who brings, prosecutes, or defends a workers’ compensation claim without reasonable grounds”. The current (HD1) draft: • Amends HRS 386-93(a) to include the phrase “including reasonable attorney’s fees”. • Is effective July 1, 2112 (to promote further discussion).
The original draft, unlike the current draft: • Had technical issues, which the HD1 corrects. • Had an “upon approval” effective date. One might be concerned about the impact of this bill, given the fact that ILWU and quite a few worker/plaintiff lawyers support it. Hawaii Insurers Council, while not opposing bill as a whole, asked for an amendment to allow compensation for “the whole costs of the proceedings and reasonable attorney’s fees” instead of for “the whole costs of the proceedings including reasonable attorney’s fees”. This is because attorney costs do not necessarily include attorney fees. Opponents Hawaii Insurers Council (only opposed part of the language with regard to attorney fees or attorney costs.)
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