Car Accidents and Disability Benefits

August 14th, 2017 by

Being involved in a car accident can be a scary experience. It can also cause many different types of injuries that can have lasting effects. If any of these injuries as so severe that they prevent you from working , you may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The information below provides valuable insight into car accidents and disability benefits.

Car Accident and Disability

Qualifying for Disability Benefits

The SSA is not concerned with how you became injured or disabled. Any serious illness or injury that prevents you from working may make you eligible for disability benefits, regardless of how it came to be. So, even if a car accident was your fault, if your injuries are severe enough, you may qualify for disability benefits if you meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled”.

What is the SSA’s Definition of “Disabled”?

There are specific qualifications you must meet for the SSA to consider you to be disabled due to your injuries:

– Your severe mental or physical condition is expected to last at least 12 months and

– You do not have substantial, gainful employment that pays more than $735 per month for an individual or $1,103 per month if you are married

– You can no longer do the work you did in the past

– You cannot be trained to do another type of work.

Musculoskeletal injuries

Car accidents can cause musculoskeletal injuries that can lead to needing disability benefits. This type of injury involves damage to muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Some of the most common types of these injuries include, but are not limited to:

– Fractures

– Amputations

– Severe burns

– Spine or back injuries

– Joint injuries

If you are unable to move your body parts or perform motor skills after a car accident, you may have an injury that qualifies for disability benefits.

Other Types of Qualifying Injuries

Musculoskeletal injuries are not the only types of car accident injuries that can qualify you for disability benefits. You may qualify for benefits with any of the following injuries if they are sustained in a car accident:

– Neurological disorders

– Sensory impairment

– Speech impairment

Disability Listings

The SSA has a list of qualifying conditions that they use in determining eligibility for benefits. If your injury is not included in the List of Impairments, you may establish that your injury is “medically equivalent” to one of the listed conditions.

Proving your Disability

Regardless of if your injury is included in the List of Impairments or not, you will be required to prove your disability with supporting medical records before you are awarded benefits.

If you have questions about applying for disability benefits, contact Clauson Law today.

5 Common Auto Accident Injuries

January 3rd, 2017 by
Drivers and passengers involved in car accidents can sustain all sorts of injuries. However, some injuries are more common than others. These injuries are either caused by physical impact with the interior of the car, or pieces of the car penetrating the body in some way. The vast majority of injuries fall into five main categories: minor, limb, soft tissue, chest and head.

5 Common Auto Accident Injuries
5 Common Auto Accident Injuries

People with severe injuries are usually taken to a hospital for treatment. Some injuries seem mild at first, but lead to long-term physical challenges. It’s a good idea to seek help from an experienced personal injury law firm, before filing an injury claim to ensure you receive the right amount of compensation for any pain and suffering.

Minor Injuries

Sustaining minor injuries from a car accident is very common. Those lucky enough to walk away from a collision relatively unharmed may only have cuts, bruises or a few scrapes. Things you keep inside the car such as cell phones, handbags, tablets, briefcases, or even drinking mugs become airborne upon impact and can hit you in a flash. Usually, the injuries caused by these type of items don’t require medical treatment. Occasionally, an object hits hard enough to require stitches, but the injury is still considered to be minor.

Limb Injuries

Injury to the arms and legs happen when a collision causes a person to hit the car interior really hard. A good example is knees bumping into the dashboard. Bracing for impact can result in arm and hand sprains.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Hands down, soft tissue injuries are the most common injury suffered as the result of car accidents. This is mainly due to whiplash injuries, which affect the neck and upper back muscles. Back injuries are also quite common. Collisions can be brutal to a body’s soft connective tissue such as ligaments, tendons and muscles. Severe soft tissue injuries can cause life-altering damage to the spine, leading to temporary or permanent paralysis.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries range from mere bruising to broken ribs. This type of injury is common for drivers who are forced into the steering wheel, or thrown forward at a high velocity.

Head Injuries

Head injuries can be minor or severe. The injury is considered minor when there is only visible head scrapes and bruises with no severe pain or bleeding. Concussions fall into the medium serious range, and may or may not require hospitalization. When the head is slammed hard against a windshield or door, or a person is ejected from the car, this may result in severe brain damage.

Learn About Car Accident Laws in North Carolina

December 13th, 2016 by
Car accidents can be unnerving, especially if you’re involved in one. However, knowing the laws that are associated with car accidents in your state is a one way to relieve some of stress you feel. If you are involved in a car accident in North Carolina, knowing some laws and statutes will help you know exactly what to do following the accident.  
Car Accident Laws in North Carolina

Statute of Limitations
If you plan on filing a civil lawsuit or insurance claim as a result of your accident, you must be aware of the statute of limitations for such an action. The state of North Carolina allows three years from the time of your accident to file a lawsuit for injuries sustained in the crash or damage done to your vehicle. If you wait even one day beyond the three-year limit, it is unlikely that the court will hear your case.  

Car Insurance
As with most states, North Carolina requires all drivers to carry valid and current insurance coverage for motor vehicles. The minimum amount of insurance for drivers in North Carolina is $25,000 for injury or death to a single person, $60,000 for total damages stemming from the accident, and $25,000 for vehicle or property damage caused by the accident. The state also requires drivers to carry uninsured driver’s insurance and under insured driver’s insurance in some cases.  

Comparative Fault
Comparative fault for an accident occurs when it is determined that more than one party is responsible for a traffic accident. North Carolina has a strict rule known as “contributory negligence” that states any driver who is found to be at fault for any part of an accident cannot receive compensation for damages.  

In some exceptions to this rule, a person who sustained damage from an accident can receive a portion of the loss that is comparative to the level of culpability he or she holds. For example, if $10,000 worth of damage was sustained, but you were found to be 10% at fault, you might only be rewarded 90% of the value, which is $9,000. However, in these instances, you may not be more than 49% at fault to receive compensation for your loss.  

Caps on Damages
North Carolina also has laws in place that set limits on how much money can be awarded for injuries that were sustained in a car accident. The ceiling for punitive damages derived from any injury, including those sustained in car accidents, is $250,000.  

As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. If you get into a car accident in North Carolina, keep these laws in mind. If you have any questions regarding these laws or need further information, please contact Clauson Law. We are here to help you.

Right after a motor vehicle accident, these immediate actions are required in NC

August 20th, 2016 by
First, the driver must stop the vehicle right at the scene if there is a death, personal injury or property damage. By NC law, the driver must help any injured party by calling an ambulance or engaging a doctor’s help. Unless you know what you are doing, do not move the injured one. However, you may need to transport the injured to a hospital. The rule of law is you will not be liable in civil damages for any acts of omission in your caretaking unless there is recklessness or intent to harm. Immediately you do need to report any accident involving personal injury, death, or a minimum of $1,000 in property damages to the local police, sheriff, or highway patrol. An officer needs to investigate in case physical ailments surface later. Then the vehicle or vehicles, if driveable, and everyone involved should move off the road for safety. At night, use flares, reflectors, and flashlights. Continue to protect the scene until the policeman comes. You, under NC law, do not have to say anything. You have the right to consult an attorney first. If the crash is a serious one, you should make haste to get your attorney. Note that with traffic tickets, there can be civil as well as criminal charges. And your insurance rates can go up. Thus, consult an attorney before heading into traffic court. In general, do not state anything and do not give over any payments at an accident scene. Do not conclude aloud that you are guilty as your words can incriminate you. By NC law share only your name, address, and license plate number. Do show your NC driver’s license upon request to others in the accident. Remember, legal dealings must transpire before declarations of liability. Before you depart the scene, make sure you get the other driver’s name, address, insurance policy information, and license plate number. And get names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses. Record in writing their accounts of what happened. Record them with your smart phone. With your cell phone camera, take pictures all around the scene. Video documentation can prove the drunkenness of the driver. Take notes re: what you have seen and heard, too. Because injury from shock and trauma may surface, do go get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. And send a complete report to your insurance company. If you have group health or disability insurance, report in full here also. File any claims. Choose your own lawyer and don’t let anyone pressure you to settle. You do not have to negotiate with adjusters just yet. Finally, do save all evidence including photos and bills.