Bankruptcy and Workers' Compensation

When a person is faced with filing bankruptcy, several concerns come to mind. Consulting an experienced bankruptcy attorney from the Coye Law Firm is a wise thing to consider. An attorney familiar with bankruptcy law may be able to help you navigate the process, especially if you are collecting lost wages in a worker’s compensation claim or have recently received a settlement from worker’s compensation.

It is especially important that you discuss bankruptcy with your worker’s comp attorney before filing. You do not want to complicate the ongoing claim for your on-the-job injury, and you want to review how the income from your claim will be affected by bankruptcy filing.


Chapter 7

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy a person’s assets are liquidated in order to repay debt. The exemptions allowed for property and assets vary by state, but Florida statute 440.22 states clearly that worker’s compensation payments shall not be subject to claim by creditors. A worker’s compensation or bankruptcy attorney will be able to elaborate, but Florida law protects people who have suffered an on-the-job injury from having to lose that money because of debt and bankruptcy.

Although the settlement or payment from a worker’s compensation claim is exempt from being included in a bankruptcy estate, it may have an effect on a person’s means test in the bankruptcy evaluation if it can be included as income. Florida state statute 222.11 lists the specifics of bankruptcy exemptions on income. Some income can be considered exempt in a bankruptcy so that a person may be able to continue to provide for their family. The three most common things to consider in the bankruptcy income exemptions are: "It is especially important that you discuss bankruptcy with your worker’s comp attorney before filing..." 

  • The amount must be less than $750 per week
  • The person must be considered head of household
  • The money must have been in a bank account at least 6 months
If you are unsure about whether your worker’s compensation settlement or payments from a claim for an on the job injury will be considered income or whether the settlement or payment could affect your bankruptcy means test, you should consider contacting an experienced bankruptcy attorney with the Coye Law Firm.

Chapter 13

The structure of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is slightly different because a person in financial trouble is able to restructure their debt and manage their own repayment. However, payments from a worker’s compensation claim or a worker’s comp settlement may still be considered exempt under FL statute 440.22. Therefore, repayment for an on-the-job injury may be eligible to be used to continue paying daily expenses rather than repayment of debt. Contact a bankruptcy attorney for assistance with the process or further explanation of your rights.

Contacting a Lawyer

The specifics of how worker’s compensation settlement or payments can affect a bankruptcy can be complex. An experienced attorney can help you ensure that your rights and property are protected in the case of a bankruptcy, whether you are receiving payments from a worker’s compensation claim or have recently received a settlement.

The attorneys at the Coye Law Firm are skilled with both worker’s compensation law and bankruptcy process.