Serious car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries. Some injuries, like soft tissue bruising, may heal on their own in a couple days. But other injuries may leave you disabled, temporarily or even permanently.
Merriam-Webster’s definition for disability is “a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person’s ability to engage in certain tasks or action or participate in typical daily activities and interactions.”
Essentially, if your injury prevents you from doing certain tasks, even for a short time, then you may be temporarily disabled.
Even minor injuries, such as a broken arm, can prevent you from working, attending school, or just enjoying your life for a period of time. An injury that interrupts your ability to live your normal life effectively disables you.
There are three types of disabilities that often result from car accidents:
- Temporary disabilities
- Partial disabilities
- Permanent disabilities
When you file a car accident claim, you should take into account any disabilities you suffer from because of your injuries.
Each type of disability has its own potential value and affects what an attorney would consider to be a fair car accident settlement for your case.
Temporary Disabilities: The Most Common Disability from a Car Accident
Minor injuries can impair you for a short time, but you can typically recover completely from them.
Examples of injuries that may result in temporary disability include:
- Minor whiplash
- Broken bones
- Strained muscles
What Sort of Compensation Should I Seek for a Temporary Disability?
These injuries may prevent you from performing your job. Treatment may require you to take time off from work.
If this is true for you, then a fair car accident settlement should include lost wages.
Even minor injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation in Indiana. If you were injured in a car accident while on the job, then you should receive workers’ compensation, no matter how minor your injuries may be.
Temporary disabilities likely won’t make you eligible for Social Security disability benefits, however. To qualify for disability benefits, your disability has to last or be expected to last at least 12 months.
Partial Disability: Injuries that Result in Long-Term Disabilities
Partial disabilities hinder your work and personal life but do not completely prevent you from your regular activities.
An example of partial disability is if you suffered a torn rotator cuff and can no longer lift objects more than 50 pounds. If you were employed as a stockroom staff member, you may need to change roles to forklift operator to avoid lifting heavy objects on your own.
Partial disabilities may improve with treatment but typically don’t result in a full recovery. Your maximum medical improvement (MMI) may never reach 100 percent.
What Sort of Compensation Should I Seek for a Partial Disability?
Not only can partial disabilities require you to take time off for treatment, but they may also affect your career potential. Partial disabilities may prevent you from returning to the work you did prior to your car accident.
A fair car accident settlement should compensate you for lost wages and your lost career opportunities.
You should receive workers’ compensation for partial disabilities if you’ve been injured on the job in Indiana. Speak with an Indiana workers’ compensation attorney if you have questions about pursuing a workers’ compensation case.
Those with partial disabilities may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits depending on the severity and longevity of their injuries.
If your partial disability prevents you from returning to work, speak with an Indiana Social Security disability attorney.
Permanent Disabilities: Severe and Lifelong
Injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), amputations, and spinal cord injuries can cause permanent disabilities.
Such disabilities can be minor (e.g., the permanent loss of a pinky finger) or severe (e.g., paralysis of the entire body).
Regardless of the severity, permanent disabilities often require significant life changes to accommodate them.
What Sort of Compensation Should I Seek for a Permanent Disability?
In these cases, fair car accident settlements should reflect lifelong needs, both for loss of income and necessary ongoing medical care.
If you incur a permanent disability on the job, then workers’ compensation should come into play. Speak with an Indiana workers’ compensation lawyer if that hasn’t been the case for you.
If you’ve been permanently disabled, then you may have a strong case for Social Security disability benefits. However, Social Security’s definition for disability differs from Merriam-Webster’s.
To be considered disabled by Social Security, your condition(s) must prevent you from working for at least one year. You must also meet certain financial requirements to qualify for each of Social Security’s two disability benefit programs.
Wondering if you may have a Social Security disability claim? Speak with one of our Indiana disability attorneys for more information. Be sure to download our free ebook, Eight Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Disability Benefits.
Help from an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
Negotiating a fair settlement after a car accident is no easy task. It’s even more difficult if you’re adjusting to a temporary, partial, or permanent disability.
Hensley Legal Group is here to help those who have been injured or disabled after an Indiana car accident. Let us handle your car accident claim so you can focus on what’s really important: your health, your family, and your daily life.
Call us today at (317) 472-3333 or contact us online for a free conversation about your car accident claim. Download our free ebook, Consumer’s Guide for Injured Victims, for more information on what to do after a car accident.