Figuring out how to cover all your living expenses after a car accident can be difficult. While compensation from a personal injury settlement can be helpful, you also have other options to replace your income. Disability benefits like short-term disability, long-term disability, SSI, and SSD may be available.
If you are unable to work after a car accident, you should immediately contact a Florida car accident lawyer who can help you find the resources you need.
Short-term disability (STD) is a type of insurance that provides income replacement for a certain amount of time after a qualifying medical situation. Some STD plans require a waiting period before they begin covering your lost wages, and most of them are only valid for up to 90 days or another similar length of time.
Yes: if your medical conditions prevent you from working for a short period of time, then you can file an STD claim and get benefits after a car accident.
Short-term disability after a car accident may be available if you have an STD insurance plan. The insurance company pays for your lost wages during your disability period. Many employers offer these insurance policies to their employees; however, you can use the policy whether you are hurt at work or not. Other people select their own commercial plans.
STD only pays a percentage of your wages, depending on the policy details you have — plans typically pay 50-60% of your average weekly wage.
The insurance company will determine your average weekly wage by looking at your salary or hourly rate and the amount of overtime you work. If you earn a salary, your annual salary will be divided by 52, the number of weeks in a year.
Short-term disability insurance pays you for lost wages. It does not cover medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, or other losses after a car accident.
If your STD insurance expires and you are still not fully healed, you may qualify for long-term disability insurance. If you cannot work and have an LTD policy, you will likely be eligible for LTD benefits. Like STD, long-term disability insurance is often provided by an employer but does not require a work-related injury.
You may also have LTD insurance through a commercial policy outside of your employer.
Like STD, LTD often covers a percentage of your income. It is also limited in time, typically starting after your STD ends. It covers lost wages and usually expires after one year or a similar amount of time.
You may be able to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) after a car accident. These programs provide income assistance to people with long-term injuries or who were permanently disabled by a car accident.
You may qualify for SSDI (often called SSD benefits) if you are “insured.” That means that you worked enough hours and recently enough while paying Social Security taxes on your earnings. You must also have a medical condition that causes you to be disabled for at least one year or result in death.
You can still get permanent disability benefits if you didn’t work enough and pay Social Security taxes to qualify for SSDI. SSI is a program that provides income assistance to people with disabilities who have limited income and resources. You must meet the same medical requirements as SSDI.
You can qualify for SSDI or SSI if you have a severe injury that results in disability expected to last at least one year or result in death. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your application and determine if you can participate in any type of gainful employment. If you cannot work, you will likely be approved for social security benefits. However, it’s important to know that many claims are initially denied. Don’t give up.
Some examples of injuries that are often approved by the SSA for benefits include:
You must take specific steps when filing for disability after a car accident.
Most SSDI claims are initially denied – as many as 70%. However, you should not give up. Many people are approved when they appeal. You can appeal your denied claim to higher levels of the SSA and even to federal court if you feel they make an erroneous decision.
SSDI and other disability benefits are only one type of supplement for your lost wages. You may also be able to get further compensation after a car accident.
Florida requires all drivers to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which will pay for a portion of your lost wages. The amount you are eligible for depends on the maximum policy limit you have selected.
If your losses exceed the limit of your PIP insurance, then you may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. They will be responsible for 100% of the lost wages you’ve suffered due to the crash they caused. Additionally, suppose you have diminished earning capacity, and you’re no longer able to do the work you once could. In that case, the at-fault driver may be responsible for the lifetime wages you have lost.
You have many options for recovering lost wages and related damages after a car accident. However, these losses can be hard to calculate, and insurance companies often fight them. You also have a right to disability insurance if you own STD or LTD policies. If you are disabled for at least one year, you may also be able to get social security benefits.
An experienced lawyer can help you understand your options and support you no matter what steps you take. Call David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. at (954) 568-3636 or use our online contact form.