March 18, 2013

Workers’ Compensation Code Set

Download Workers' Compensation Code Set

The American Bar Association (ABA) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) facilitated the creation of a series of task based code sets to cover the major classification of legal services, including a specific UTBMS Litigation Task Code Set in 1995. Neither association officially endorsed or took ownership as such for the code sets. No umbrella management/professional development organization was created.

There was tacit recognition at the time of the creation of the litigation code set that there were distinct classes of litigation that warranted it’s special attention. It was resolved at that time to focus on introducing the concept of task- based management of budgeting and billing for litigation in general. UTBMS is digital based making it ideal for e-billing. It has become synonymous with LEDES supported e-billing applications.

Insurance defense litigation has emerged as the dominant user of “task based billing” systems. To address their specific budgeting and billing requirements a representative stakeholder group developed a modified UTBMS Litigation Code Set 2007. Subsequent to that a substantive stakeholder group with workers’ compensation expertise, although supportive of the modifications, identified task gaps in code phases and ambiguity in the wording of existing tasks. The UTBMS Workers’ Compensation Code Set 2010 remedies ambiguities and deficiencies in task based budgeting and billing for workers compensation litigation while retaining compatibility with the methodology and integrity of the UTBMS Litigation Code Set 2007.

The UTBMS Workers’ Compensation Code Set 2010 will serve both as an e-billing platform for task based budgeting and billing and a practice management guide. Each task contains a set of “Commentary & Practice Tips” that will help workers’ compensation defense lawyers and Workers’ Compensation Claims Managers to develop a mutually beneficial working relationship.

WC 110 – Fact Investigation/Development - All actions to investigate, understand the facts of matter

  • Interview of client personnel/potential witnesses/Conference with employer
  • Review of file documents,  investigation/surveillance/background search and security and claims materials
  • Review of employer/personnel/wage records
  • Legal research for initial case assessment purposes
  • Development of factual and legal issues
  • Identify potential experts
  • Review of medical records regarding work status, treatment plan and maximum medical improvement
  • Obtain and review medical/legal claims records for prior injuries/diseases/disability/W.C. Claims

WC110 Commentary & Practice Tips

The only legal research that should be included in this code is that which is directly related to an initial evaluation of the case. All subsequent legal research should be itemized under the primary task for which the research is conducted.

Many of the tasks within the WC100 phase will apply during the entire life of the case. 

Keeping track of time spent performing this function will enable both the firms and insurers an opportunity to learn whether they are strategizing together.  Insurers will learn whether they are included in the process of putting together a “game plan.”

WC 120 Analysis/Strategy – Thinking, Strategizing, and Planning for a case

  • Preparing for/attending initial strategy conference with adjuster/employer/ nurse case manager
  • Discussions/writing /meetings on case strategy
  • Preparation of litigation plan & updates
  • Communication on case strategy/trial strategy with adjuster/ employer/nurse case manager

WC 120 Commentary & Practice Tips

When there might be overlap between the efforts attributable to case evaluation and case strategy, use this code. 

WC 130 Experts/Consultants

  • Identify medical experts and vocational experts
  • Developing/reviewing Expert/Consultant Reports
  • Communication with expert /consultants adjuster/employer/ nurse case manager regarding expert opinions.

WC 130 Commentary & Practice Tips
This code is only meant to deal with the initial processes of identifying and interviewing experts and consultants.

Time spent in helping an expert witness prepare his or her report or preparing for a hearing should be billed to WC340 or WC420 as appropriate but not to WC130. 

Time spent preparing for expert testimony is billable to WC340 or WC420 as appropriate but not to WC130.

As with other WC100 codes, WC130 focuses on initial steps in the handling and strategizing of the defendant’s case.

WC 150 Budgeting

  • Preparation of budget
  • Correspondence regarding budget

WC 150 Commentary & Practice Tips
This code applies to time spent developing, negotiating or revising a budget including correspondence to substantiate the budget and periodic updates required by the client for a matter.

This would include outlining the cost of anticipated tasks, planning staffing needs and hours, estimating external expenses, and outlining assumptions associated with the budget.

  • Communications with your client reviewing and/or revising the budget should be billed under this section and not WC120.  

WC 160 - Settlement/Resolution

  • Activities directed specifically to settlement.
  • Planning/participation in settlement discussions
  • Conferences/communications with attorney, adjuster and employer
  • Preparing settlement analysis
  • Mediation
  • Preparing opening statement for mediation
  • Traveling to/from mediation 
  • Attend mediation
  • Any and all communication regarding settlement/mediation/other non-binding procedures.
  • Preparing /drafting compromise & release agreement and order
  • Preparing/drafting/attending motion to enforce settlement agreements
  • Prepare settlement stipulation
  • Preparing medicare allocation/application to CMS for pre or post settlement approval

WC 160 Commentary & Practice Tips
All activities directed specifically to settlement. Encompasses planning for and participating in settlement discussions, conferences, and hearings and implementing a settlement. Covers pursuing and participating in mediation and other non-binding procedures. Also includes pre-litigation demand letters and ensuing discussions.

Post ADR or mediation settlement discussions that occur concurrently with Trial should be billed under WC160.

Discussions or written communications with your client regarding settlement authority should be billed under this code.

Drafting settlement agreements including final releases, compromise & release agreements and annuity contracts and MSA activities should be billed under this code.

WC 180 Alternative Fee Arrangements
This code includes all non-hourly or other alternative fee arrangements for tasks and activities in this phase.

WC 210 Pleadings

  • Drafting/editing/filing all pleadings
  • Reviewing opposing pleadings
  • Counter-claims and third party complaints
  • Research for pleadings
  • Preparing/drafting/filing workers' compensation state forms and supporting Memorandum of Law
  • Preparing affidavits/attorney affirmations
  • Prepare communication with adjuster/employer regarding analysis/summary of pleadings/state forms

WC 210 Commentary & Practice Tips

This code encompasses all pleadings and state forms reviewed by parties, as well as any asserted against prospective parties, including time spent researching the legal basis for the pleading and the time preparing it.

WC 230 Conferences with Judge

  • Preparing for conference
  • Attending conference
  • Reporting on conference with Judge

WC 230 Commentary & Practice Tips

This code includes participation in, or travel to and attendance at conferences.

Appearances pursuant to various motions should be billed for the code pertaining to the motion-type.  For instance, a summary judgment hearing should be billed to WC240.

Final pre-trial conferences should be billed to WC450 (appearing at trial; related hearings)

Preparation, review and service of papers submitted at WC tribunal mandated events are included in this code.

WC 280 Alternative Fee Arrangements

This code includes all non-hourly or other alternative fee arrangements for tasks and activities in this phase.

WC 310 Written Discovery

  • Preparing/Identifying
  • Reviewing response to written discovery
  • Preparing summary/analysis of written discovery

WC 310 Commentary & Practice Tips

Preparing, responding to and/or objecting to interrogatories and requests to admit. Includes mandatory meet-and-confer sessions. Also covers mandatory written disclosures as under Rule 26(a).

WC 320 Document Production/Acquisition

  • Preparing/responding and/or objecting to document request
  • Identifying/reviewing documents for production
  • Identifying/reviewing documents for privilege
  • Prepare/draft request to produce
  • Prepare/draft response for request to produce
  • Prepare/draft subpoena/authorizations
  • Obtain non-subpoenaed documents
  • Review/summarize subpoenaed documents/requests to produce documents

WC 320 Commentary & Practice Tips

Preparing, responding to, and/or objecting to document requests, including the mandatory meet-and-confer sessions to resolve objections. Includes identifying documents for production, reviewing documents for privilege, effecting production, and preparing requested privilege lists. (While a general review of documents produced by other parties falls under this task, the initial review of documents primarily to understand the facts is Task WC110.)

WC320 is applicable to the identification and analysis to determine portions of documents or whole documents that should or should not be disclosed.

Identification and analysis of the pertinent data required to support a subpoena is appropriately billed using this code.

Time spent by a paralegal or attorney associated with subpoena issuance, authorizations or compliance should be billed using this code.

Timekeeping related to Electronic Discovery is included in this category, whereas technology and vendor costs relating to Electronic Discovery are considered Expenses. 

Timekeeping related to obtaining, reviewing and exchanging medical records should use this code.   Timekeeping related specifically to medical experts, such as an IME, should be coded under WC340.

WC 330 Depositions

  • Preparing deposition notices and subpoenas
  • Communicating with witnesses and/or opposing counsel
  • Discussing deposition strategy with adjuster/employer and/or witness
  • Preparing witnesses
  • Reviewing medical records/documents/claims file for deposition preparation
  • Preparing direct/cross examination questions for depositions
  • Attending depositions
  • Travel to and from depositions
  • Prepare deposition summaries/reports to client

WC 330 Commentary & Practice Tips

All work concerning depositions, including determining the deponents and the timing and sequence of depositions, preparing deposition notices and subpoenas, communicating with opposing or other party's counsel on scheduling and logistics, planning for and preparing to take the depositions, discussing deposition strategy, preparing witnesses, reviewing documents for deposition preparation, attending depositions, and drafting any deposition summaries/reports.

WC 330 is applicable to the identification and analysis of documents to be referred to or used as exhibits at deposition.

WC 334 Deposition Report

  • Prepare deposition summaries/reports to client

WC 340 Expert Discovery

  • Preparing expert discovery and deposition notices
  • Communicating with expert and opposing counsel
  • Preparing subpoena to secure experts (vocational/ medical/other) appearance at deposition/trial
  • Discussing deposition strategy
  • Preparation for and consultation with expert
  • Reviewing expert documents/records and/or films review
  • Drafting expert summaries
  • Preparation for and consultation with expert
  • Arranging and scheduling Independent Medical Examinations (IME) and Impairment Rating Evaluations (IRE)
  • Review & Analysis of Independent medical examination (IME) & impairment rating evaluation (IRE) 
  • Communicating with expert (vocation/medical and other) and obtaining vocational documents

WC 340 Commentary & Practice Tips

This code is used once experts have been identified.  Activity related to determining the appropriate experts should be coded to WC 130.

Activities related to medical expert opinions or testimony, previously shown under WC390 (which has been discontinued), should be included here.

WC 350 Discovery Motions

  • Preparing/responding to/arguing motions that arise from discovery
  • Review order ruling on motion
  • Preparing summary of tribunal order

WC 350 Commentary & Practice Tips

Preparing, responding to, and arguing all motions that arise out of the discovery process. Includes the protective order process.

WC 360 Discovery On-Site Inspections/Visits

  • Travel to and from site Inspection/visits
  • Attend site Inspection/visits
  • Prepare summary of results from onsite inspection/visits

WC 360 Commentary & Practice Tips

This code includes all site inspections/visits.

WC 380 Alternative Fee Arrangements

This code includes all non-hourly or other alternative fee arrangements for tasks and activities in this phase.

WC 410 Fact Witnesses

  • Preparing for examination of witness
  • Interview/meeting with witness
  • Preparing for cross-examination of witness
  • Review & analysis of deposition/trial transcripts

WC 410 Commentary & Practice Tips

The preparation of witnesses includes meetings, mock examinations and the review of evidence.

Preparing direct and cross-examinations under this section would include document and record review when preparing direct and cross-examinations.  This would include time spent with demonstrative evidence and the use of exemplars.  However, the actual development of the demonstrative evidence itself would be allocated to (WC 440).

WC 420 Expert Witnesses

  • Preparing for examination of expert witness
  • Interview/meeting with expert witness
  • Preparing for cross-examination of expert witness
  • Review & analysis of deposition /trial transcripts

WC 420 Commentary & Practice Tips

This involves strategizing, review of collateral materials such as prior testimony, review of technical literature, document review and outline preparation for direct and cross-examination.  Investigating an opposing expert witness’s background and areas of alleged expertise is an activity allocated to this code.  

This code also includes meetings and communications analyzing, adjusting and responding to adversarial experts.

WC 430 Written Motions/Submissions

  • Developing/reviewing written motions for hearing 
  • Preparing and responding to written motions
  • Arguing written motions
  • Review & analysis of order on motion
  • Jurisdictional motions
  • Research for motions
  • Dispositive motions
  • Prepare communication with adjuster regarding analysis/summary of motion

WC 430  Commentary & Practice Tips

This code encompasses all of the papers exclusive of discovery motions, which are under WC360, that are filed with the tribunal from initiation of proceedings to the finish of the trial.

This code would also involve the amendment of written submissions.

WC 440 Hearing Preparation and Support

  • Preparing for hearing
  • Identifying documents/evidence for use at hearing
  • Preparing demonstrative materials, evidence and exhibits
  • Pre-hearing conference with adjuster/employer /opposing counsel/witness
  • Research of case law and statutes for use at hearing
  • Review of deposition for use at hearing
  • Preparation of trial summary memorandum of law
  • Preparation of opening/closing statement

WC 440 Commentary & Practice Tips

This code lists very specific tasks, yet involves a broad range of areas of trial preparation.

The entries allocated under this code should relate directly to what is necessary to prepare and perfect certain events during the trial.

This section includes actual witness preparation immediately before the trial. Witness preparation other than immediately before trial should be coded by either WC 410 or WC420.

This code will allow for a critical analysis of the trial preparedness of a law firm. A worthy analysis is to review the ratio of trial preparation billing to actual in-trial billing.

WC 450 Hearing

  • Appearance at hearing
  • Travel to /from hearing
  • Post-hearing communication/report regarding hearing

WC 450  Commentary & Practice Tips

This code encompasses time relating to the hearing. 

WC 460 Post-Hearing Conferences/ Motions/Submissions

  • Post-hearing conference with adjuster/opposing counsel
  • Preparing proposed findings of Fact/Conclusions of law/position paper and memorandum of law in support thereof
  • Objection to claimant's final submission
  • Preservation of objections
  • Legal research
  • Preparation of proposed order for tribunal
  • Review order from tribunal

WC 460 Commentary & Practice Tips

This code includes post hearing conference and submissions, hearing evidence, but does not include time spent on appellate analysis, which should be coded to (WC510) or (WC520).

This code will involve time spent seeking a new hearing and/or to have a decision set aside, or amended by the tribunal.

WC 480 Alternative Fee Arrangements

This code includes all non-hourly or other alternative fee arrangements for tasks and activities in this phase.

WC 510 Appellate Proceedings/Motions Practice

  • Research appellate issues
  • Draft response to motions/other filings
  • Arguing motions/other findings
  • Attend motion hearing
  • Travel to & from motion hearing
  • Prepare notice of appeal
  • Designing appellate record
  • Extraordinary writs/appellate proceedings
  • Review responses to appellate petition
  • Prepare response to appellate petition
  • Prepare petition appendix

WC 510 Commentary and Practice Tips   

All time associated with motion practice regarding the appellate process should use this code, including time spent on appellate motions, including notices, scheduling and logistics, planning for and preparing to draft all appellate motion papers and memorandum of law.

All work pertaining to appellate level motion practice should be billed under this code and not WC240 or WC250.

Time spent compiling exhibits or putting together the appellate motion papers should not be billed as it is considered overhead.

WC 520 Appellate Briefs

  • Research appellate brief
  • Preparing appellate brief
  • Reviewing opposing party appellate brief
  • Review record
  • Prepare appellate record

WC 520 Commentary & Practice Tips

WC 530 Oral Argument

  • Preparing for oral argument
  • Argue an appeal
  • Travel to & from
  • Pre and post argument communication re appeal.