What Are Permanent Disabilities After a Car Accident? | Staver
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What Are Permanent Disabilities After a Car Accident?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Personal Injury

Car accidents can vary from minor to severe, and so do the injuries sustained in them. While you might expect to fully recover after an accident, there are some injuries that you cannot recover from completely. When your life has been upheaved by an accident, you could qualify for more than a personal injury settlement.

Read more about permanent disabilities and how they might affect your life after a car accident.

Defining Permanent Disabilities

A permanent disability is a physical or mental impairment that can affect someone’s long-term ability to work. If an injury disrupts someone’s ability to perform their duties or normal activities, they could qualify for permanent disability. You can expect these injuries to have a lifelong impact.

You might not recover from them completely, but you might be able to adapt to them. People with total permanent disabilities are not expected to be able to return to work. Your life may look extremely different.

Examples of total permanent disabilities include:

  • Loss of mobility in limbs: Being unable to use your arms or legs as effectively as you could before the accident could greatly affect your employability. You might be able to use your limbs, but not as dexterously as before the accident. You might need a new role, one that might not pay as well.
  • Permanent brain damage: Cognitive function is a permanent disability that’s considered after an accident. If you are unable to process information or make decisions, you may not be able to return to the same activities you engaged in before the accident.
  • Total blindness: The loss of vision can greatly affect your independence. There are many daily functions and tasks that you’ll have to relearn. It’s highly likely that this disability will inhibit your old way of life.
  • Total deafness: Like sight, hearing is a key sense. A car accident could easily cause ruptured ear drums or permanently affect your hearing. This is something you’ll have to adapt to, not just for “new” habits, but also for safety.
  • Tetraplegia: Commonly called “quadriplegia,” people suffering this kind of paralysis can no longer move their limbs or have lost sensation from the neck down. Tetraplegia can greatly affect mobility and even quality of life. Some people with this kind of paralysis require constant caregiver assistance.
  • Paraplegia: People suffering from this kind of paralysis have lost functionality in their legs. Although they might retain functionality in their arms, their mobility can be greatly affected.

Car accident victims may also suffer permanent partial disabilities, which are long-term injuries that are not as extreme as total disabilities but still can affect someone’s life.

Someone may become partially deaf or blind, receive an amputation, or experience nerve damage. Someone suffering a permanent partial disability may be able to return to work, just not in the same capacity as before.

What Are Temporary Disabilities?

Temporary disabilities usually only last one year. Unlike permanent disabilities, the challenges of a temporary disability are not as extreme as lifelong disabilities. You can expect to recover from them. They may affect your capacity to work for a short time, but once you’ve healed, you can expect to return to your job or way of life from before your accident.

Examples of temporary disabilities could include broken bones, concussions, torn ligaments, or sprains.

Qualifying for Disability Payments

You could qualify for disability payments from the Social Security Administration. You need to ensure your ailments are in the administration’s Blue Book. It specifies the necessary requirements you must meet. If your symptoms aren’t listed, you’ll need to prove your injuries are severely debilitating in order to receive payments.

You could qualify for disability payments through two programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSI is an annual payment with monthly caps. These limits can change if you’re receiving income from another source.

SSDI is based on the wages you earned before you were injured, as long as you have worked long enough to qualify for these benefits. If you are able to return to work, you may lose your benefits.

Will Disability Payments Affect a Personal Injury Settlement?

If you are awarded a settlement in a personal injury claim, it should not affect your SSDI benefits. You should be cautious before accepting a settlement, however, because it could disrupt your SSI benefits.

A personal injury attorney can break down the nuances of Social Security benefits and personal injury law. They can explain how you can pursue both after a devastating accident uproots your life.

Call a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Permanent disabilities will change your way of life. Even if other people might assume the damage is light, you will experience a different quality of life. It’s likely you won’t be able to return to work or pursue the same activities as before. It’s critical you hire a Chicago car accident lawyer who can explain your options and help you with your disability benefits.

The team at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., is ready to help you explore your situation and find the best course of action. We understand how traumatic an accident is, and we know adjusting your way of life will not be easy. We’re prepared to help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation for your losses and secure your disability benefits.

Call (312) 236-2900 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.

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(312) 236-2900
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