Personal injury what do I do now?Recently on our disability forum a user asked, I was paralyzed in a car accident. My doctor says that I will never walk again or regain functionality in my hands. I was a nurse prior to the personal injury, but I know that I will not be able to go back to work. What steps should I take now? I know I will get a personal injury settlement from the at fault driver, but I am also wondering whether I can also get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for my injuries?
Steps after a personal injury
If you have been injured in a car accident and the injury was the result of the negligence of another driver its likely that you will receive some type of insurance settlement from the negligent drivers insurance company.
In some states, assuming you do not get a fair settlement or you cannot reach a settlement with the insurance company, you may also have the legal right to file an injury claim against the driver to receive additional compensation.
Although you may be able to negotiate a fair personal injury settlement on your own with the insurance company, many legal experts also suggest that you discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer. This is especially true if you do not know the extent of your injuries, you have severe or permanent injuries, or you will not be able to return to work.
Filing for SSDI for a personal injury
Now, you also asked about filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for your personal injury. SSDI is separate from a personal injury settlement, and you can file for disability benefits immediately if the following is true:
- You have an injury which is expected to last at least 12 continuous months and does not allow you to work and perform substantial gainful activity.
- Your injury is severe.
- You have sufficient work credits to be considered insured for SSDI benefits.
- You meet the citizenship requirements for SSDI benefits.
- You are not working and earning too much money to qualify for SSDI benefits.
When do I file for SSDI benefits?
Although SSDI has a five month waiting period, its important to file for benefits as soon as you are unable to work. Some claimants think they have to wait to file until after the five month waiting period is over, or worse, until they have been disabled 12 continuous months.
Claimants, however should apply for SSDI as soon as the meet the requirements outlined above. Applying for benefits now ensures you start getting benefits as soon as possible. Winning SSDI benefits can be a very difficult process. Although it sounds like you have a strong case, most claimants are denied the first time they apply for benefits.
What happens when I get my personal injury settlement?
If you are receiving SSDI benefits the SSA will not care if you receive a large personal injury settlement. SSDI benefits are not based on your income. In fact, SSDI is an insurance policy which you have, in effect, been purchasing and paying for throughout your career.
Note, however, if you do not qualify for SSDI benefits and you have to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) this program is much different than SSDI and a large payout can jeopardize your eligibility for SSI.