North Carolina Worker's Compensation - Help For Injured North Carolina Workers

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    I am 61 yrs old, a pilot who fell at work and herniated two discs. After 8 months with no improvement I got a call offering to settle. What questions do I need to ask when discussing a settlement? Is life expectancy used to formulate an amount of lost income? I made over $110,000.00 last year and now get 804.00 per week, how long will this weekly payment continue if a settlement is not reached? Are settlement funds taxable as income? Having never been out of work I have never dealt with such and want to be treated fairly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Calif
    Posts
    18,011

    Default Re: Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    You can't know the potential value of settleing a claim until you have completed your Dr treatment plan, been declared MMI/Max Medical Improvement, and been rated for impairment....Section 1: Evaluation of Permanent Physical Impairment
    see the section on "Spine" here http://www.ic.nc.gov/ncic/pages/ratinggd.htm

    PPD indemnity is based on the PD rating...
    For the total loss of use of the back, sixty-six and two-thirds percent (66 2/3%) of the average weekly wages during 300 weeks. The compensation for partial loss of use of the back shall be such proportion of the periods of payment herein provided for total loss as such partial loss bears to total loss, except that in cases where there is seventy-five per centum (75%) or more loss of use of the back, in which event the injured employee shall be deemed to have suffered "total industrial disability" and compensated as for total loss of use of the back.
    You may be eligible for other benefits, you should consult with a competant WC attorney to determine the merits of your claim.
    WC benefits, nor settlement money is taxable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    800

    Default Re: Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    Quote Quoting 412driver View Post
    I am 61 yrs old, a pilot who fell at work and herniated two discs. After 8 months with no improvement I got a call offering to settle. What questions do I need to ask when discussing a settlement? Is life expectancy used to formulate an amount of lost income? I made over $110,000.00 last year and now get 804.00 per week, how long will this weekly payment continue if a settlement is not reached? Are settlement funds taxable as income? Having never been out of work I have never dealt with such and want to be treated fairly.
    I'd concur with BvIA.

    In the meantime, hopefully, forum member "complwyr" will chime in. He's a very learned and helpful NC WC attorney.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    3,093

    Default Re: Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    Your situation is way too complex for a good answer on the forum.

    Here are some general answers: If you got hurt before June 24, 2011 and you have a NC case, then you can theoretically draw the comp check for the rest of your life, if you remain disabled due to the injury. You did not mention your medical status, but you would be entitled to lifetime medical coverage for the injury in NC if certain conditions are met.

    Specifically under your facts, the life expectancy under the NC chart for someone aged 61 is 20.4 years. Using an 8% discount rate, the Present Value of a stream of lifetime benefits at your comp rate of $804, (which does not sound like the correct amount based on your earnings) would be around $420,000. But the airline is not going to pay you that to settle. They may want to settle on their terms without regard to what is fair to you.

    ---------- Post added at 07:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:30 PM ----------

    Work comp payments are usually not income taxable. But certain confidentiality language placed into the settlement agreement can turn the settlement into income taxable money.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    Thanks to all, My injury occurred 16 Dec 2010. The case worker mentioned that I would be unable to work again. After reading, I questioned the $804 and it is being recomputed. with my ciferin it should max out at $834. The case worker said they would back pay if incorrect. Is an MSA required or can I simply ask for a medical amount we can agree on? Is the 8% negotiable as there is no way to earn that with a conservative investment?

    I appreciate your input

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    800

    Default Re: Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    Quote Quoting 412driver View Post
    The case worker mentioned that I would be unable to work again.
    It's never up to the insurance company case manager to determine whether or not you'd ever be able to work again. That, sir, is up to the Primary Treating Physician, the IME, PQME, AME, etc (whomever makes such decisions in NC). This is a medical decision.

    Is an MSA required
    An MSA will likely be required, especially considering your age and how near you are to being eligible for Medicare. If there is to be any future medical treatment, there would have to be an offset to satisfy CMS.

    ......or can I simply ask for a medical amount we can agree on?
    You can't negotiate for future potential medical expenses that may or may not ever materialize. The insurance company is not going to speculate on whether you'd ever need additional care. In a settlement, they will either leave medical open, or establish a WCMSA.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    Thanks LglEgl, The case worker was quoting the Ortho Dr about work. Your point is well taken. I don't know if NC allows an open medical in a settlement. That would be ideal though. I will be getting all the details this week as to rating, etc. I will share for opinions and advice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    800

    Default Re: Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    Quote Quoting 412driver View Post
    The case worker was quoting the Ortho Dr about work.
    That wouldn't surprise me, but I hope you aren't trusting the case worker's version of what the Dr. said without knowing what the Dr. said.

    I don't know if NC allows an open medical in a settlement.
    I don't either, for sure, but I'd venture to guess that MOST States do provide for open medical.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    I have requested a copy of my entire file and will look it over closely. As a retired military officer, I know the value of having all the paperwork for future reference.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    3,093

    Default Re: Settlement Offer for Back Injury

    If you can never work again, the rating is irrelevant to maximizing your outcome.

    ---------- Post added at 06:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:36 PM ----------

    You should also consider any benefits of employment that you may have going forward.
    The North Carolina Court of Appeals has held that "In contested Workers' Compensation cases today, access to competent legal counsel is a virtual necessity." Church v. Baxter Travenol Labs, Inc., and American Motorists Insurance Company, 104 N.C. App. 411, 416 (1991).

    Bob Bollinger, Attorney at Law

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