(a) The fee of an attorney for service to a claimant in an amount of more than $100.00 shall be subject to the approval of the board, and no attorney shall be entitled to collect any fee or gratuity in excess of $100.00 without the approval of the board. The board shall approve no fee of an attorney for services to a claimant in excess of 25 percent of the claimant’s award of weekly benefits or settlement.
(1) Upon a determination that proceedings have been brought, prosecuted, or defended in whole or in part without reasonable grounds, the administrative law judge or the board may assess the adverse attorney’s fee against the offending party.
(2) If any provision of Code Section 34-9-221, without reasonable grounds, is not complied with and a claimant engages the services of an attorney to enforce his or her rights under that Code section and the claimant prevails, the reasonable quantum meruit fee of the attorney, as determined by the board, and the costs of the proceedings may be assessed against the employer.
(3) Any assessment of attorney’s fees made under this subsection shall be in addition to the compensation ordered.
(4) Upon a determination that proceedings have been brought, prosecuted, or defended in whole or in part without reasonable grounds, the administrative law judge or the board may, in addition to reasonable attorney’s fees, award to the adverse party in whole or in part reasonable litigation expenses against the offending party. Reasonable litigation expenses under this subsection are limited to witness fees and mileage pursuant to Code Section 24-10-24; reasonable expert witness fees subject to the fee schedule; reasonable deposition transcript costs; and the cost of the hearing transcript.
(c) An attorney shall not advertise to render services to a potential claimant when he or she or his or her firm does not intend to render said services and shall not divide a fee for legal services with another attorney who is not a partner in or associate of his or her law firm or law office, unless:
(1) The client consents to employment of the other attorney after a full disclosure that a fee division will be made;
(2) The division is made in proportion to the services performed and the responsibility assumed by each; and
(3) The total fee of the attorneys does not clearly exceed reasonable compensation for all legal services such attorneys rendered to the client.
(d) When attorney’s fees or reasonable litigation expenses are awarded under this Code section, the administrative law judge or the board shall have the authority to order payment of such fees or expenses on terms acceptable to the parties or within the discretion of the board.