People who cannot work due to a physical or mental condition might qualify to receive disability benefits. But what if you suffer a form of personal injury while you are disabled. Will the disability payments you rely on affect your personal injury settlement?
The Answer May Depend on the Type of Disability Benefits You Receive.
The most common forms of disability benefits include:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is based on your disability, but not your income or resources.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is needs-based, which means you must have limited income and resources to qualify.
- Private disability insurance company coverage depends on the terms of your policy.
But our question is whether disability benefits affect the compensation you can receive from a personal injury claim.
Calculating Personal Injury Settlement Funds Is Complicated
There’s not really a one-size-fits-all method of deciding how much your personal injury lawsuit is worth. Each case is different, but the following factors may be considered:
- Current and future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of earning capacity,
- Loss of limb,
- Loss of industrial use of a limb
- Future lost earnings,
- Your status as head of household and your number of dependents, and
- Pain and suffering.
Insurance companies and attorneys for other parties involved in the personal injury may dig deep into your personal life looking for anything that could reduce your settlement amount.
So, Will a Disability Claim Affect My Personal Injury Claim?
It might. Again, there are many variables to consider, including:
- Type of Disability. Disability benefits because of lung cancer may not affect your settlement for back injuries incurred in a car accident. However, disability received for a bad back very well might. You and your attorney may have to show the differences between the personal injury and disability.
- Length of Disability. Your disability may be expected to last for years – or you may recover in a matter of months. Will your personal injury last longer than your disability?
- Income vs. Disability Benefits. Disability benefits often are less than your pre-disability income. In some cases, a personal injury settlement may be calculated using your monthly benefits instead of previous income. Were you expecting to return to work at some point, but your personal injury makes it impossible? If so, the impact your personal injury has on future earnings also needs to be considered.
For example, let’s consider this scenario: Blake is unable to work because of a serious respiratory condition. His condition is expected to last at least 12 months, but he may be able to return to work if his condition improves enough or he trains for a new career. While receiving disability benefits, he suffers a serious head injury during a car crash. As he and his attorney negotiate his personal injury settlement, the other party’s counsel brings up Blake’s disability benefits. However, his head injury has nothing to do with his respiratory disability. Also, Blake’s plan to return to work is crushed because of his head injury. In this limited case, the disability claim may have little effect on the personal injury claim.
Disability Claims May Affect a Personal Injury Settlement
It’s best to get professional advice if you have harmed by another person, especially if disability benefits may complicate your case. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
At the Dailey Law Firm, P.C., our team of skilled lawyers and professionals provide sound and current legal representation that you need. Call us at 844-342-5353 to set up a free consultation or use the Contact Form on our website. There’s no fee for personal injury cases unless we win.