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How To Get Disability After A Car Accident

Last updated: March 28, 2023

In order to be eligible for disability benefits after a car accident, you must have suffered a severe injury that has caused you to be unable to work. 

In the United States, approximately 3 million people have a disability due to a car accident yearly. Disabilities, whether temporary or permanent, hamper your earning potential and have dire repercussions for your way of living. Getting a disability benefit is essential to help you resume a semblance of normalcy after an accident. 

This post lists what injuries qualify for disability benefits and how to get disability after a car accident.  

Car Accident Injuries Qualified For Disability Benefits

Not all car accident injuries qualify for disability benefits. However, all injuries, no matter how small, qualify for compensation. 

Here's a list of car accident injuries that allow you to claim disability benefits:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury. This happens when you hit your head on the steering wheel or dashboard. It results in short-term memory loss, which impairs your daily tasks. It can also affect the speech of the patient. Moreover, it may lead to sensory impairment requiring treatment such as gyrostim therapy.
  • Fractured Bones Or Joint Injuries. Fractures can cause you to lose your limbs' function, affecting your employment. If, despite physical therapy, you still suffer from the effects of your fracture, then you can qualify for a disability. 
  • Back Injuries. Spinal damage is a common injury during accidents and can affect your work throughout the day. If you have old spinal injuries, car crashes can irritate them and result in ongoing chronic pain.
  • PTSD Or Anxiety. Car crashes are traumatic incidents that can cause long-term psychological injuries affecting how you do your daily job. If PTSD is severe and ongoing, it can qualify as a disability.
  • Whiplash. This common accident injury only results in a disability if there's a severe spinal cord or back injury. You need an MRI to prove the spinal damage.
  • Severe Burns. In case of explosions and vehicle fires, you can suffer severe burn injuries that take time to heal. If they prevent you from doing your job, you may be eligible for disability benefits. 
  • Hearing Or Vision Loss. These are catastrophic and life-altering injuries from motor accidents that negatively impact your work. Permanent and temporary sensory loss qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

You can always consult the SSA Blue Book for a list of disability that automatically qualifies for the SSDI benefits.

Getting Short-Term Disability After A Car Accident

Getting Short-Term Disability After A Car Accident

Short-term disability is offered by selected states instead of the federal government. This benefit is not available through SSDI or SSI. 

Currently, only California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island offer short-term disability benefits. However, you can check with your state department and employer if you live in other states. 

Short-term disability is funded by your employer and is meant to assist short-term non-work-related medical conditions that prevent you from working. This includes temporary injuries from an accident. 

How To Qualify For SSDI Benefits

SSDI is a federal program designed to provide recurring income to help you replace your work income due to a disability. The requirements and application can be complicated, and most work with a disability attorney to help them increase their chances of getting approved.

Before applying, remember that the SSA is concerned about how your injury prevents you from working. It's not necessarily how severe your injury is. Here are the qualifying criteria:

  • With a severe condition that prevents you from performing your current job
  • Your condition is terminal or prevents you from working for at least 12 months
  • Your condition prevents you from performing other work duties which you can be trained to do
  • You meet other non-medical qualifying criteria, such as income and work credits

Maximize Your Eligibility

A car accident is no trivial matter. It can have severe physical, mental, and emotional consequences that prevent you from maximizing your earning potential. 

Aside from getting compensation from your insurance and third-party liable persons, you can also qualify for disability benefits from your state or the federal government. 

Right after the accident, make sure to file your claims and get the process started. Keep evidence of the accident and ensure you receive your treatment. These will help build your case for the disability benefit. 

And when in doubt, consult with a disability lawyer. They know the process better and can help take your mind off the tedious tasks involved. They can also ensure approval. 

If you're wondering how long the SSA will approve your claim, check out our post on things to know about SSDI approval timeline

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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