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Permanently Disabled from a Car Accident

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Injuries sustained in an automobile accident can be life-altering, both physically and mentally. If a victim of an accident is left permanently disabled, the injuries can affect not only you but your entire family. In addition, you may be unaware of the exact impact the accident will have on the rest of your life. When faced with the reality of long-lasting physical, mental, and emotional challenges, it is essential to understand your legal rights and options. 

Drivers suffering from a permanent disability after a car crash have likely been the victim of another driver’s negligence, leaving the disabled individual in no way responsible for the collision or injury. Orlando Car Accident Lawyer Michael T. Gibson is dedicated to getting the most for victims of catastrophic and permanent injury and can advocate for you and your family during these difficult times.

What is a Permanent Disability?

A permanent disability is a life-long impairment or limitation. It may include physical injuries such as spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and paralysis, as well as psychological or cognitive issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or memory loss. 

The severity of a permanent disability following a car crash varies greatly. Its impacts can range from mild to severe, affecting an individual’s ability to work, perform daily activities, and maintain relationships.

The exact legal definition of permanent disability may vary depending on the jurisdiction or specific area of law. However, in general, a permanent disability is legally defined by the following criteria:

  • Severity: The disability must be severe enough to impact the individual’s ability to perform their regular work duties, engage in other substantial gainful activity, or significantly limit their capacity to carry out daily tasks.
  • Duration: A permanent disability is generally expected to last indefinitely or for an extended period. In some legal contexts, this may mean that the disability is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
  • Medical Documentation: Claims of permanent disability following a car accident must be supported by medical evidence, such as a diagnosis, treatment records, and opinions from medical professionals. This documentation helps establish the nature, severity, and expected duration of the disability and will be invaluable in negotiating the settlement value for your case.
  • Functional Limitations: The disability must cause specific functional limitations that can be demonstrated through objective assessments or evaluations, such as the inability to lift a certain amount of weight, stand or walk for extended periods, or perform certain cognitive tasks.

An attorney experienced in car accident law has the understanding and experience to know how these criteria and definitions apply to your specific circumstances and can help you determine legal solutions that will work to your greatest advantage. 

Types of Permanent Disabilities

Permanent disabilities can either be total or partial. A partial permanent disability is one where the victim can return to their day-to-day activities, but still suffers some changes to their normal way of life. Partial disability can be the loss of a limb or harm to a body part that is eventually recoverable.

Paraplegia: Paraplegia is paralysis or loss of use of the lower half of the body, including the legs and feet. This disability usually results in loss of sensation, movement, and reflexes. Paraplegics may also lose function of the bowels and sexual function. 

A common cause of paraplegia is a spinal cord injury incurred during a car accident. Some paraplegics are able to return to work. However, the job tasks and positions might be limited for them. Depending on the severity, a paraplegic can either be considered a total or partial disability for a lawsuit or insurance claim.

Quadriplegia: Quadriplegia is a disability where the victim suffers from paralysis of the legs and arms. Quadriplegics have usually suffered a cervical injury in an accident. 

Quadriplegia is considered a total permanent disability because the victim is unable to return to work or carry out day-to-day activities. These individuals will often need at-home medical care for the remainder of their lives.

Hemiplegia: Hemiplegia is the paralysis of one side of the body. A brain lesion occurring from an illness frequently causes hemiplegia. Brain tumors are common causes of this disability.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Moderate and severe traumatic brain injury can cause dramatic changes in a person’s functional abilities and mental capacity. These injuries may qualify as permanent or temporary disability, depending on the expected prognosis and the symptoms that accompany them.

Temporary Total Disabilities

Another class of disability, known as a temporary total disability, is when a victim has suffered injuries leaving them temporarily unable to work or carry out day-to-day activities. As a result of a temporary total disability, the victim will likely lose wages and accumulate a large amount of medical bills during this time. Victims who have suffered a temporary total disability can likely receive compensation for monetary damages.

Dealing With Long-Term Disability After a Car Accident

Everyone’s injury, accident, and situation are different, and your experienced legal team can help you decide the best course of action to take to receive compensation for your injuries. 

Many opt to seek social security disability benefits or may qualify for disability insurance through a worker’s compensation program. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs under the United States Social Security Administration designed to provide financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a qualifying disability. 

While Social Security Disability benefits can provide valuable financial support for individuals with disabilities, these benefits do not specifically cover non-economic damages. To seek compensation for non-economic damages in Florida, you will need to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the responsible party. Those who qualify for SSDI or SSI may be able to receive benefits after a car accident in addition to pursuing compensation through a personal injury claim. 

You should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to help you understand your rights and options and ensure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to, including economic and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. 

A Personal Injury Lawsuit Can Help Protect Your Future

In the State of Florida, if you are permanently or temporarily disabled in a car accident, you can file a lawsuit against a driver who has caused your injury. The driver has most likely violated a traffic law or acted negligently. 

To seek compensation for a permanent disability resulting from a car accident, you must prove that another party’s negligence or recklessness caused the collision. This might involve demonstrating that the at-fault driver was speeding, intoxicated, distracted, or failed to follow traffic rules. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult expert witnesses to establish negligence and liability.

Given the Florida Statute of Limitations, you have a limited period of time in which you can prepare and file a lawsuit. Your personal injury attorney will advise you when it is the best time to do so. 

Navigating the legal process of seeking compensation for a permanent disability after a car accident can be overwhelming and complicated. A skilled personal injury attorney can guide you through each step, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. This includes:

  • Evaluating your case and determining the full extent of your damages.
  • Gathering evidence and building a strong case to prove negligence and liability.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf to obtain a fair settlement.
  • Litigating your case in court if a settlement cannot be reached.

Compensation for Long-Term Disability After a Car Accident

When you suffer a permanent disability due to serious car accident injuries, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation. These can include:

Medical Expenses: Compensation for past, ongoing, and future medical treatment, rehabilitation, and assistive devices related to your disability.

Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity: If you lost your job after a car accident, compensation for income lost due to your inability to work or any reduced earning capacity resulting from your disability.

Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by your injuries and disability.

Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the impact of your disability on your relationships with your spouse or partner.

Punitive Damages: In cases where the at-fault driver’s conduct was particularly egregious, the court may award punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.

Knowledge Equals Power in Orlando Auto Accident Cases

Suffering a permanent disability after a car accident is a life-changing event that can leave you feeling uncertain about your future. However, by understanding your rights and working with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, you can pursue the compensation you need to cope with your new reality.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident that resulted in some type of disability as a result of another driver’s negligence, contact an experienced Orlando personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at the office of Michael T. Gibson can help you and your family receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation to discuss your options and begin the journey toward financial recovery.

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