Sustaining injuries and developing a lifelong disability is a tragic thing to go through. However you may be eligible for compensation to help alleviate some of the financial burdens of living with this predicament. Proving total and permanent disability is not simple, even if the claimant can easily show their injuries. Instead, proving total and permanent disability also requires the claimant to show how the injuries impact their lives and future, which can be complicated as it requires supporting evidence and testimony. An experienced attorney may be able to provide a claimant with the proper legal assistance to evaluate the need for expert testimony to support their claim.
There are various ways for the claimant to support their claim of total and permanent disability based on their sustained injuries. Some of the critical statements to support the claimant’s case may include the following:
Medical Professional Diagnosis
An official diagnosis by a medical professional that has evaluated or treated the claimant on their injuries and disability is a critical source in proving total and permanent disability. Given that the claim for total and permanent disability is tied to the claimant’s medical diagnosis, a medical professional’s testimony is required in the case.
For this requirement, the medical professional would provide their official testimony regarding the claimant’s medical standing regarding their injuries. Some of the points that the medical professional can discuss specifically may include the following:
- the extent of the claimant’s injuries
- how the claimant’s injuries have limited their ability to perform specific movements and activities
- how the claimant obtained the damages
- how the injuries have progressed since the time of the initial diagnosis
- If the claimant is suffering from total and permanent disability from the injuries sustained
Vocational Expert Testimony
Although it is not required, testimony by a vocational expert may be valuable in proving
the impact of the injuries and disability on the claimant. A vocational expert can highlight how the claimant’s disability and injuries have rendered them unable to do the same job they used to have before they sustained their injuries. Specifically, a vocational expert may be able to complete an evaluation known as a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) on behalf of the claimant. This evaluation may include the following information:
- Whether the claimant’s physical ability will render them unable to fulfill their previous job responsibilities. Moreover, the vocational expert can also lay out the type of jobs that may fit the claimant’s diminished capability caused by their disability. Such physical limitations may include the ability to bend, lift, stand for a certain amount of time, walk for a certain distance, or perform specific duties vital to the job.
- The claimant’s psychological capacity, such as their ability to focus or fulfill the mental requirement for their previous job or what job would fit their mental competence.
The vocational expert can also lay out the limited jobs available to the claimant, given their predicament and how these jobs differ in salary, availability, and complexities from the claimant’s previous position.
Life Care Planner
Another source of expert testimony that may prove to be valuable to a claimant in proving total and permanent disability is a life care planner. Although a statement from a life care planner
is not required in a lawsuit, their testimony can help the claimant’s case in highlighting the impact on the future needs and quality of life-based on the injuries and disability they have incurred.
Life care planners are certified professionals who assess individuals suffering from chronic health issues and injuries and evaluate the individual’s needs based on their disabilities. Specifically, life care planners can provide insight on what the following individual would need based on the injuries and disability they are suffering from, including the following:
- Whether the claimant will need rehabilitation or therapy, and if so, what type, projected length of treatment.
- If the claimant will need to avail of long-term medical care, and if so, the nature of the care, the professionals that need to provide such medical attention and care.
- Whether the claimant will need to seek domestic assistance, and if so, the extent of the required service and the type of day-to-day activities they would require aid with.
A claimant’s own testimony can help in showing the impact of the injuries and disability they have sustained on their quality of life. Although this statement may seem self-serving, it can help provide a personal narrative of what the claimant is going through. This statement can emphasize the drastic changes brought to their quality of life by the injuries and disabilities they have sustained.
Some of the information that the claimant can highlight in their testimony on how their injuries and disability have affected their lives are as follows:
- The physical limitations or deformities they have sustained.
- Changes in their mental state and the challenges they pose to their daily interactions and lives.
- The emotional complications brought on by their physical disability and injuries.
It should be noted that total and permanent disability for personal injury claims is not the same as a Social Security Disability (SSD) claim. Disability claims provide different types of financial and other remedies. It is worth noting that obtaining an SSD claim can impact your ability to receive other types of compensation such worker’s compensation benefits.
Sufficiently proving permanent disability can dramatically impac the amount recovered in a personal injury claim and the damages recoverable. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you analyze whether you may have a claim for a temporary or permanent disability and the type of evidence needed to prove your claim.
If you or a loved one and are concerned about whether an injury may have a lifelong impact, please give us a call at (225) 963-9638, or you can click here to contact us for a free consultation. Our highly experienced attorneys can help you assess your case and represent your legal interests.