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How to Recover Damages with a Long-Term Disability  - Jones Law Group

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How to Recover Damages with a Long-Term Disability 

Suffering a long-term disability due to a personal injury accident can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially. In such cases, pursuing a legal claim for damages becomes crucial to ensure fair compensation.

The Jones Law Group will fight to ensure you get every dollar you have coming for your suffering caused by another’s negligence. Schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or calling (727) 571-1333.

Types of Personal Injury Accidents that Can Cause Long-Term Disability 

Nearly 1.4 million people visited Florida emergency rooms in 2021 due to non-fatal injuries. Many of these were debilitating, with lifelong consequences. Certain personal injury accidents have a higher potential to result in long-term disabilities due to the severity of the injuries sustained.

The following accidents can lead to significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges for the victims. 

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Florida had 396,455 motor vehicle accidents in 2022, leading to 251,919 injuries. These accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries, amputations, and severe fractures.

The high impact and forces involved in such accidents can cause permanent disabilities, affecting mobility, cognitive function, and overall quality of life.

Slip and Fall Incidents

In 2020, an estimated 6.8 million people in the U.S. had to go to the emergency room after falling. Falls from heights or slipping on hazardous surfaces can cause various injuries, including fractures, head injuries, and spinal cord damage.

Severe falls can lead to traumatic brain injuries, fractured vertebrae, and spinal cord compression, resulting in long-term disabilities like paralysis or chronic pain.

Workplace Accidents

Industrial accidents, construction site mishaps, and machinery malfunctions can result in permanent disabilities. These accidents can lead to crushed limbs, traumatic brain injuries, and exposure to toxic substances, causing disabilities that hinder the ability to perform work tasks or even daily activities.

Medical Malpractice

Surgical errors, medication mistakes, and misdiagnoses can lead to debilitating injuries. Patients might experience nerve damage, organ failure, or other severe complications due to medical negligence, resulting in disabilities affecting physical or cognitive function.

What Counts as a Disability?

Defining a disability is essential for determining eligibility for various forms of support, including legal claims, benefits, and accommodations. A disability is generally understood to be a condition that hinders an individual’s ability to participate fully in everyday life.

The legal and regulatory framework for disabilities may vary by jurisdiction, but there are common elements that can help clarify what qualifies as a disability:

The following are some of the impairments that may be classified as disabling:

Fractures of the Leg or Arm

Severe fractures may require surgeries, prolonged immobilization, and physical therapy, potentially leading to permanent limitations in range of motion, strength, and functionality. These limitations can hinder daily activities and employment opportunities.

Back Disorders

Spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, and vertebral fractures can result in chronic pain and restricted mobility. These conditions can lead to difficulties in walking, standing, and performing regular tasks, making it challenging to maintain a normal lifestyle or hold a job.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments can cause long-term pain and reduced functionality. Chronic pain from soft tissue injuries can impact mobility and overall quality of life, affecting the ability to engage in physical activities or work effectively.

Anxiety Disorders

Traumatic events can lead to severe anxiety disorders that affect daily life and may qualify as disabilities. Conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can lead to panic attacks, avoidance behaviors, and social and occupational functioning difficulties.

How Can a Disability Affect Your Settlement Offer?

A disability resulting from a personal injury can significantly impact the outcome of a settlement offer in a legal case. When negotiating a settlement, various factors are considered, and the presence of a disability can influence these factors in several ways:

  • High medical bills: Long-term disabilities often involve extensive medical treatments, surgeries, therapies, and medications, contributing to substantial medical expenses that need to be compensated.
  • Loss of income: Inability to work due to a disability can lead to loss of income and reduced earning capacity. This factor increases the claim’s value to cover present and future financial losses.
  • Pain and suffering: Long-term disabilities can cause physical and emotional distress, resulting in increased compensation to account for the pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life experienced by the individual.
  • Future expenses: Anticipated future medical costs and ongoing care requirements, such as rehabilitation, assistive devices, and modifications to living spaces, can significantly impact the settlement offer.

Filing for Disability After a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Your case could take months or even years to resolve, so it’s essential to explore all available options for financial support. 

One such option is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which are federal programs that provide financial assistance to individuals with disabilities.

If you believe your long-term disability qualifies, here’s a more detailed explanation of the process involved in filing for disability benefits:

Understanding SSDI and SSI

SSDI benefits individuals who have worked and paid Social Security taxes. You must have accumulated enough work credits based on your work history to be eligible. 

Your disability must also meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of a disability. This definition includes a severe medical condition that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and is expected to last at least 12 months.

SSI is a needs-based program for individuals with limited income and resources. It provides financial assistance to disabled individuals, including those who haven’t worked enough to qualify for SSDI.

Providing Medical Evidence

Medical evidence is a crucial component of your disability claim. You’ll need to provide comprehensive medical documentation that outlines the nature and severity of your disability, how it affects your ability to work, and the treatments you’ve undergone. This evidence could include medical records, test results, physician statements, treatment history, etc.

Demonstrating Impact on Ability to Work

Your disability must significantly impair your ability to work and earn a substantial income. The SSA evaluates your residual functional capacity (RFC), which assesses what types of work, if any, you can still perform despite your disability. You may qualify for benefits if your RFC is too limited for you to engage in gainful employment.

Gathering Necessary Documentation

This is where the legal firm you choose, such as the Jones Law Group, can play a vital role. Experienced attorneys can help you gather and organize the necessary documentation to build a strong case for your disability claim.

They can work closely with your healthcare providers to obtain accurate and comprehensive medical records demonstrating your condition’s severity and its impact on your ability to work.

Filing the Application

Once you have collected all the required documentation, you must complete and submit the appropriate application for SSDI or SSI. The application process can be complex. It requires careful attention to detail to avoid delays or denials.

Navigating Appeals if Necessary

It’s important to note the SSA denies many disability claims. If this happens, you have the right to appeal the decision. A skilled legal team can guide you through the appeals process, presenting your case more effectively and increasing the chances of a successful outcome.

How Can Jones Law Group Help You?

The experienced attorneys with the Jones Law Group can help in many ways, including the following:

  • Legal expertise: We understand the complexities of personal injury law and can navigate the legal process effectively.
  • Case evaluation: Our attorneys can assess the value of your claim based on the severity of the disability and the associated damages.
  • Negotiation: We have a team of skilled negotiators who can work with insurers to secure a fair settlement covering your needs.
  • Trial representation: If the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, we can represent you in court to fight for your rights.

Please schedule a free case evaluation with the Jones Law Group by calling (727) 571-1333

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio