What if I Can’t Go Back to Work After an Injury?

Disabling injuries change peoples’ lives. Over the years, we have seen far too many people go from being healthy and productive breadwinners to wondering if they will be able to pay their mortgage or keep their cell phone turned on. It is doubly frustrating when an insurance company refuses to pay fair compensation to someone who will likely never be able to return to work. Our clients feel like their life has been taken from them, and we view our job as trying to help them get back on their financial feet.

For people in that situation, there are four potential ways to get help.  First, if you have purchased short-term or long-term disability, then you should be able to recover against your own insurance.  Second, if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence (something like a car accident, a slip and fall or a medical malpractice case), there may be insurance money that you are entitled to recover.  Third, if you were injured in a work accident, your employer’s workers compensation insurance should pay you benefits for the rest of your life.  And finally, it may be time for you to apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

Disability Insurance

Disability insurance can be a great benefit to those who had the foresight to purchase it. Many employers offer short-term and long-term disability benefits as part of their compensation package. When a person becomes disabled, they can apply for benefits to replace their income. As a condition for receiving long-term disability benefits, the insurance company will require you to apply for Social Security disability to reduce the amount they have to pay.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is what covers people for injuries caused by other peoples’ negligence. This includes injuries from things like car accidents, slip and fall incidences, medical malpractice, defective products, dog bites, and automobile recalls.  In theory, a person who is negligent should be liable for all of the damages caused by that person.  In practice, however, most liability insurance policies are not big enough to truly pay for the damages of a person who will never return to work.  In cases like that, it is important to maximize the amount of money you get from the liability insurance company and then follow through on other options like Social Security disability.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Under Utah law, a person who becomes permanently and totally disabled due to a work accident or an occupational disease is entitled to receive a portion of their average weekly pay for the rest of their lives.  In our experience, workers compensation insurance companies rarely pay such claims without a fight.  For more information about workers compensation cases in Utah, please see our information page on workers compensation claims.

Social Security Disability

People who have been out of work for one year, or who anticipate being out of work for at least one year, can apply for Social Security disability benefits.  The type of benefits you will qualify for depend on your work history and the amount of assets you have. An experienced Social Security disability attorney can answer many of your questions, including whether you have a good case.

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