Permanent Disability After an Auto Accident: What are your rights?
While even a fender-bender can sometimes do a lot of damage to the human body, some car crashes are truly devastating. Whether it’s because of high speeds, the type of crash, the size of the other vehicle involved or the lack of seatbelts, certain types of wrecks just do more harm. Unfortunately, some result in permanent disability—injuries or conditions that are open-ended and lifelong.
When you are faced with permanent disability after a crash, you may wonder how you’ll support yourself or your family. What are your rights?
What is a permanent condition?
Many car crash injuries can be treated over time. A broken arm, for example, may require emergency care, imaging and possibly even surgery or physical therapy. There will be expected up-front medical costs and time off of work, but, eventually, the injured person will recover. This makes it simpler for an insurance company to estimate a settlement offer.
Permanent conditions, however, are lifelong. They may include:
- Partial or total paralysis
- Vision or hearing loss
- Crushed limbs and amputations
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Psychological trauma, including debilitating depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
These conditions may require extensive medical treatment. They may leave the injured person completely unable to work. Some may even require round-the-clock nursing care. The costs are open-ended and challenging to estimate.
This makes it much less likely that insurance companies will offer a satisfactory settlement. That’s why many individuals suffering catastrophic injuries ultimately file a personal injury lawsuit.
How is the value of a car crash lawsuit determined?
Some personal injury lawsuits are resolved in a pre-trial settlement. Others go before a jury. With large amounts of money on the line, insurance companies are more likely to put up a fight, making it important to work with an expert Macon car crash lawyer.
A person injured in a car crash may file suit to claim not only medical expenses and loss of wages, but pain and suffering as well. Ultimately, the compensation will be determined by:
- The severity of the injury. TBIs and paralysis often require daily care.
- The loss of future wages. If the injured person will be unable to work again, attorneys work with accountants to project would-be promotions and raises based on work history and education.
- Pain and suffering. This can be based on the physical pain of the condition or the psychological trauma of the crash itself.
Are there government benefits available?
Some injury victims may also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.
An injured person’s claim to these benefits is tied to his or her ability to work. To qualify, the injured individual has to be “disabled” according to the Social Security Administration’s definition:
“The law defines disability as the inability to do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
A personal injury lawyer can help you understand the possible benefits available to you after a permanent disability.
Personal Injury Attorney in Macon, Ga.
If you have been injured, you need a Macon accident lawyer with experience. The Macon personal injury attorneys at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill will help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today.