By Daisy Rogozinsky
May 2, 2022

If you were injured and it affected your ability to earn an income, you may be eligible for disability benefits. In this article, we’ll explain the legal definition of disability and how it impacts personal injury cases.

Key Takeaways

  • Disability is a lack of physical or mental faculties
  • People with disabilities are eligible for certain benefits and protection from discrimination
  • In the context of disability benefits, disability is usually defined as an inability to work
  • Personal injury claims and disability benefits claims can affect one another

What Is Disability?

The law protects people with disabilities from discrimination and offers them certain benefits. As such, it must define what disability is in order to ascertain who is eligible for these protections and benefits. 

As you can imagine, disability can be a tricky thing to define. That is why there are different working definitions for different contexts. However, generally speaking, the definition of disability is a lack of physical and mental faculties. 

One specific definition of disability is a reduced earning capacity or inability to work, usually due to the loss of physical function. In the context of disability benefits, disability refers to an incapacity to perform tasks within the course of employment such that it results in wage loss.

For Social Security benefits purposes, disability requires a medically diagnosable physical or mental impairment that either can result in death or endures for a stated period leading to an inability to work. 

Disability in Personal Injury Law

If you are injured, you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim and/or a claim for disability benefits offered by the government. If your injury prevents you from being able to work, you can file a disability claim to cover your income loss during this period until you are able to recover. Note that not all disability claims are accepted. In order to make a strong case, you will need evidence to back up your claim, including medical records. 

Something else to take note of is the difference between a personal injury claim and a claim for disability benefits. A personal injury claim is a claim to your personal injury insurance provider for compensation for an injury you sustained. This can be for damages including but not limited to lost wages. For example, you may make a claim for compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering. On the other hand, a disability claim is a claim to government disability benefits for an injury that has stopped you from being able to earn income. It is not related to your private insurance.

You can make both a personal injury claim and a disability claim for the same injury, but the two claims might affect one another. For example, you may not receive compensation for lost wages for an injury that you are already receiving disability benefits for.  

All disability claims are different based on the injury, how it happened, and your eligibility for various benefits. It’s recommended to work with a personal injury lawyer who can help you with your case and assist you in determining which disability benefits you may be eligible for if any, as well as how it might affect any personal injury insurance claims.  


  • https://badrelaw.com/personal-injury-cases-disability-benefits-eligibility/

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