What Is A Disability Rating In A Worker’s Compensation Case?

Father Injured at Work with DaughterWhen you are injured on the job and are seeking compensation through the workers’ compensation laws, you must have a disability rating in order to do so.  In order to receive on going benefits, one must prove they have become permanently disabled as a result of the injury.

However, a disability does not always mean only a physical disability. Instead, a disability in workers’ compensation is a loss of earning capacity. When you are injured a doctor will determine how badly you have been injured. Based on your injury and how it impacts your capacity to earn wages they will assign you a rating on the injured body part. You then use that disability percentage and the number of weeks that correspond to the injured body part.

Lets look at an example to better understand how a rating is used in calculating what you are entitled to in a workers’ compensation case. If someone injures their back and a doctor gives them a disability rating of 10% on their back then we would use that percentage along with 300 weeks (given by the table below). Ten percent multiplied by 300 is 30 weeks. We then take those 30 weeks and multiply that by the compensation rate (which is 66% of the average weekly wages). In this scenario, lets say the compensation rate is $666.66 per week. If that were the case then we would multiply the weekly compensation rate ($666.66) by the 30 weeks. That means this person would be guaranteed to receive $20,000 due to their permanent impairment or disability rating.

Although many of the numbers in a workers’ compensation case are set by statute, an attorney can help ensure you get the necessary treatment and also can maximize the disability rating you receive. Having a workers’ compensation attorney can help you maximize your settlement and benefits.

Below is a listing of the current “weeks” for each body part.

ChartNumber of WeeksCite
Thumb75G.S. 97-31 (1)
Index Finger45G.S. 97-31 (2)
Second Finger40G.S. 97-31 (3)
Third Finger25G.S. 97-31 (4)
Little Finger20G.S. 97-31 (5)
Great Toe35G.S. 97-31 (8)
Any other Toe10G.S. 97-31 (9)
Hand200G.S. 97-31 (12)
Arm240G.S. 97-31 (13)
Foot144G.S. 97-31 (14)
Leg200G.S. 97-31 (15)
Eye120G.S. 97-31 (16)

If you feel that you have been injured on the job and you have not been properly paid for it; it is strongly suggested that you speak with an attorney who handles Worker’s Compensation cases to see if you have a case against your employer.

Do I Have To Pay Taxes On Workers’ Compensation Settlements?

The task of fighting for, being approved and actually receiving your workers’ compensation settlement is daunting enough, but what are you to do when you file taxes? Do you pay taxes on the settlements? Should you be setting money aside to cover that?
Filling out paperworkThe answer to your question is no. Workers’ compensation settlements are fully tax-exempt if paid under the Workers’ Compensation Act; according to Publication 907, “Workers’ Compensation for an occupational sickness or injury if paid under a Workers’ Compensation act or similar law” is exempt.

Workers’ Compensation is in the same category of non taxable income as the following:

Payments from public welfare fund.

Compensatory (but not punitive) damages for physical injury or sickness.

Disability benefits under a “no fault” car insurance policy for loss of income or earnings capacity as a result of injuries.

Compensation for permanent loss or loss of use of a part or function of your body, or for your permanent disfigurement.

Your workers’ compensation settlement (and weekly benefits) being tax exempt is important. Not having to pay taxes on those benefits could save you thousands of dollars. Should you feel as if you have been injured on the job and deserve compensation, please feel free to contact our office and set up a free consultation to discuss your possible case.

What Is A Rule 2004 Examination In A Bankruptcy?

The Rule 2004 Examination is adapted from the civil “discovery” process in a case.  It allows debtors, bankruptcy Trustees and any other party in interest in a bankruptcy case to examine “any entity” (meaning whatever part of the bankruptcy and its dealings that they choose) as long as the examination relates to, according to Rule 2004 (b) under Section 343 of the Bankruptcy Code,  “acts, conducts, or property, or to the liabilities and financial conditions of the debtor, or to any matter which may affect the administration of the debtor’s estate, or to the debtor’s right to discharge”.

Bankruptcy Research | North Carolina Bankruptcy Information

A creditor may request the Rule 2004 examination or a representative on behalf of the creditor(s) may request permission to complete the Rule 2004 examination. The Rule 2004 examination is the Bankruptcy Code’s form of a deposition.

A deposition is an opportunity for creditors or other interested to ask questions under oath. The answers to those questions can be used as evidence against the Debtor in an adversary proceeding or in an objection the discharge of debts. The Rule 2004 examination typically last a couple of hours but could be longer or shorter depending upon the complexity of the situation and the amount of questions a creditor has.

As an advocate for debtors, we cannot stress, to the highest degree, how important it is to make sure that you disclose everything to your bankruptcy attorney.  In conjunction with your attorney you should be completely honest on your bankruptcy paperwork. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can usually take steps to help you avoid a Rule 2004 examination or can help defend your deposition during a Rule 2004 examination.

What Is Temporary Total Disability In A Workers' Compensation Case?

North Carolina Workers' Compensation InformationTemporary total disability is a legal term, also known as “TTD”, and is a disability rating assigned in a North Carolina workers compensation case.  Temporary total disability (TTD) is assigned when a worker is injured on the job and cannot work for a “temporary” or short term time period. This short time period can be a few days or a few months.  The employee must report the injury and usually wait seven days before they can begin receiving workers compensation benefits.  These benefits usually include 2/3 of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum wage set by state law.  The injured worker is also entitled to medical treatment during this time period.  It is presumed the worker will eventually return to work at his or her job after a recovery period. Typically, a doctor will be the one to decide when the injured workers can return to work.

This is in contrast to permanent partial disability, also known as “PPD”, in which the worker has sustained a permanent injury and usually cannot return to the same job. In permanent partial disability, the worker is usually assigned a permanent disability rating based upon the percentage of injury to that particular body part.

Can I Collect Rent If I’m Surrendering Rental Property in Bankruptcy?

Person Writing on LaptopRental properties can be a great source of income until a renter moves without notice or fails to pay or that rental income starts to be used for your personal household expenses.  As situations arise, many people are finding it necessary to file bankruptcy and surrender the extra properties and the mortgages that come along with those properties.  When you surrender a rental property in bankruptcy, you are in essence surrendering your interests and rights to the property.  Therefore, you are not eligible to collect rent while in bankruptcy.

Additionally, the bankruptcy Trustee sees this as unprotected funds and will request the received funds to go to the creditors.  Furthermore, tenants are always informed if a house is being surrendered in bankruptcy.  Your tenants may be well aware of their rights and have the responsibility to report a debtor who tries to collect rental income while in bankruptcy.

Once you have been discharged of your debts and have received a final decree that officially closes your case, you may begin to receive rental income.  However, approach this scenario with caution.  Even though you have completed your bankruptcy the Trustee has the ability to reopen your case and require you to pay him all the funds you had received after your discharge.  So, you definitely need to weigh your pros and cons.  If this situation sits in your future horizon, you should discuss this with your bankruptcy attorney prior to your discharge.  Moreover, if the tenants are aware of the circumstances, they may not even be willing to pay rent while still living in the home.  Since the property is still in your name until the bank forecloses, you may engage in the eviction process.  Or you could insist on the tenants paying enough to cover homeowners insurance or property taxes.  If there is a homeowners’ association linked to the home, whoever lives in the property should stay current with the HOA.

We typically tell our clients to stop collecting rent when they decide to file for bankruptcy. Instead, the tenants should pay rent to the bankruptcy Trustee or stop paying rent all together if they no longer wish to stay in the house. This ensures the bankruptcy client is not doing anything to jeopardize the success of their bankruptcy.