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Slip and fall and SSDI benefits

Thousands of Americans slip and fall in stores, restaurants, and in their homes each year. Some slip and fall accident injuries can be very serious; while others are not. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I was shopping at Wal-Mart the other day, and I slipped and fell. What are my options for paying for my medical bills? I broke my wrist and will be out of work for at least two weeks.”


Can I get SSDI benefits for my slip and fall?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is offered to claimants who have a severe health condition which does not allow them to work for at least 12 continuous months. SSDI benefits are also only offered if the claimant has worked and earned work credits to be “insured” for SSDI.

The first step after an injury accident is to seek medical care and follow your doctor’s treatment options. Next, determine if your condition is long-term, which means it will last 12 continuous months.

If you have a long-term condition (a condition lasting less than 12 months), regardless of how you were injured, you may qualify for SSDI benefits (assuming you meet the non-medical requirements). For example, a slip and fall injury could qualify for SSDI, but you will have to prove to the SSA that resulting injuries are so severe you cannot work your current job or retrain for new work.

For instance, if you tripped and fell and hit your head on the ground and suffered a severe head trauma, your condition may be so severe that you could not return to work for 12 months. A fall which causes only minor injuries (i.e. broken arm, leg, scrapes, bruises, etc.) will not be severe enough to receive SSDI benefits.

What if I cannot get SSDI for my slip and fall?

If your slip and fall injury is not severe enough or will not last long enough to receive SSDI benefits this does not mean you cannot be compensated for your injuries.

Under some conditions, assuming someone else’s negligence contributed or caused your injuries, you may be able to file a premise liability claim and recover compensation for your injuries (i.e., pain and suffering, wage loss compensation, and medical expense compensation).

Proving a premise liability claim, however, can be very difficult. In fact, it will require you to prove certain elements of your injury claim:

More specifically, you will have to prove that you had a right to be on the property (i.e., licensee, invitee, or customer). The property owner or store knew about the condition, knew that it could be hazardous, did nothing to make the hazard safer, and that the property owner’s failure to do their duty caused your injury.

Bottom Line:

What’s the bottom line? The user may qualify for SSDI for a slip and fall, assuming they meet the nonmedical requirements, but they will have to prove their injuries are so severe they will last 12 continuous months and will not allow them to work.

If their condition was long-term or short-term and they can prove negligence (i.e., the store owner knew about the spill and failed to clean it up in a timely manner), they may be able to file an injury claim and win compensation for their injuries.

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