702.134 Payment of claimant's attorney's fees in disputed claims.
(a) If the employer or carrier declines to pay any compensation on or before the 30th day after receiving written notice from the district director of a claim for compensation having been filed, on the ground that there is no liability for compensation within the provisions of this Act, and the person seeking benefits shall thereafter have utilized the services of an attorney at law in the successful prosecution of his claim, there shall be awarded, in addition to the award of compensation, in a compensation order, a reasonable attorney's fee against the employer or carrier in an amount approved by the person, administrative body or court before whom the service was performed, which shall be paid directly by the employer or carrier to the attorney for the claimant in a lump sum after the compensation order becomes final (Act, section 28(a)).
(b) If the employer or carrier pays or tenders payment of compensation without an award pursuant to 702.231 and section 14 (a) and (b) of this Act, and thereafter a controversy develops over the amount of additional compensation, if any, to which the employee may be entitled, the district director, administrative law judge, or Board shall set the matter for an informal conference and following such conference the district director, administrative law judge, or Board shall recommend in writing a disposition of the controversy. If the employer or carrier refuses to accept such written recommendation, within 14 days after its receipt by them, they shall pay or tender to the employee in writing the additional compensation, if any, to which they believe the employee is entitled. If the employee refuses to accept such payment or tender of compensation, and thereafter utilizes the services of an attorney at law, and if the compensation thereafter awarded is greater than the amount paid or tendered by the employer or carrier, a reasonable attorney's fee based solely upon the difference between the amount awarded and the amount tendered or paid shall be awarded in addition to the amount of compensation. The foregoing sentence shall not apply if the controversy relates to degree or length of disability, and if the employer or carrier offers to submit the case for evaluation by physicians employed or selected by the district director, as authorized by section 7(e) of the Act and 702.408, and offers to tender an amount of compensation based upon the degree or length of disability found by the independent medical report at such time as an evaluation of disability can be made. If the claimant is successful in review proceedings before the Board or court in any such case an award may be made in favor of the claimant and against the employer or carrier for a reasonable attorney's fee for claimant's counsel in accord with the above provisions. In all other cases any claim for legal services shall not be assessed against the employer or carrier (see Act, section 28(b)).