What if I Get a Permanent Disability After a Car Accident?

If you suffer a permanent disability after a car accident, you may recover disability benefits through an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, you will need to prove that the disability resulted from the injuries sustained in the car accident and that another party was liable for the damages.

Chicago, IL - Four Injured in Car Accident on Eisenhower Expy. permanent disability after car accident

For help with building a car accident case and seeking compensation for a disability, call Ankin Law at 312-600-0000 for a free consultation with a Chicago car accident attorney.

What Are Considered Permanent Disabilities?

Permanent disabilities are injuries that prevent workers from working in the same capacity or entirely following an accident. These injuries could also impact a person’s ability to complete daily activities he or she could have prior to his or her disability.

There are two main types of permanent disability classifications for benefits:

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

This is a permanent disability that affects part of the individual’s body that may still enable him or her to work in a limited capacity. For instance, a worker might lose the ability to freely move one of his or her arms, or a worker could sustain hearing loss or permanent damage to another limb. These injuries could severely limit the person’s ability to work, reducing earning potential.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

These injuries are more extensive and result in the complete inability to return to work. Examples of these include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that leave individuals intellectually incapable of completing work and personal tasks, along with spinal cord injuries that result in total paralysis. In these instances, individuals may be entirely incapable of returning to work for the rest of their lives.

These are different from temporary partial disability (TPD) and temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. TPD and TTD benefits apply to cases when workers are only disabled for a limited amount of time, eventually leading to full-time work in the same capacity as before the injury.

Common Causes of Permanent Disabilities in Car Accident Cases

Permanent disabilities can result from all types of injuries and circumstances, especially in car accidents.

Primary causes of permanent disabilities include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries that negatively affect a person’s physical or cognitive abilities
  • Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis
  • Injuries causing serious cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Extensive damage to internal organs
  • Catastrophic injuries, including those causing amputations and severe disfigurement

Recovering Compensation for Permanent Disabilities

In Illinois, the average healthcare cost per person with a disability is around $18,881. However, this number can vary greatly and skyrocket to millions for individuals with permanent disabilities.

The long-term costs of permanent disabilities make it crucial for accident victims to seek compensation if another party is liable for the accident. With the help of an experienced car accident lawyer, victims may successfully file a claim or lawsuit against liable drivers, other parties, and their insurers.

The following are some key considerations when seeking compensation for any kind of permanent disability:

Economic Damages

One of the main types of compensation you may recover for a disability in a car accident case is economic damages, which refers to the financial losses you sustained because of your injuries and permanent disability.

These damages can include the following expenses:

  • All medical costs associated with the disability and related injuries, including ongoing care
  • Long-term home care expenses
  • Costs related to making modifications to homes or vehicles to accommodate disabilities
  • Lost income and earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
  • Damage to property resulting from the accident

You might ask, “Does health insurance cover car accident injuries?” Often, insurance policies will cover accident injuries, but only to a limited extent. If you find that you still need financial assistance after a car accident outside of policy limits, you may want to file a personal injury lawsuit against liable parties with the help of an attorney.

Non-Economic Damages

In addition to economic damages, victims with permanent disabilities could seek non-economic damages that account for the personal losses endured after an accident.

For example, you might suffer physical pain and suffering due to your injuries, along with psychological distress in the form of depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Depending on the extent of the disability, individuals could also suffer loss of consortium due to the inability to maintain an intimate relationship, or they could experience loss of companionship with others.

It’s important to know how to claim emotional injury for a car accident to successfully incorporate these losses into a claim, but this is another area where a car accident attorney could help.

The Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

Another factor to consider when recovering compensation for a permanent disability is the statute of limitations for your case. As with all other civil cases, car accident lawsuits have a statute of limitations in place that dictates how long a person has to file a case.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for most car accident cases is two years from the date of the accident or the discovery of injuries. In other words, you will typically have two years to file a claim or suit before you’re unable to seek compensation.

However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations, depending on the circumstances involved. You might wonder, “How is the statute of limitations affected by catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities?”

Generally, you may have longer than two years to file a case if your injuries and disabilities prevented you from filing on time, such as if a victim is in a coma or otherwise incapacitated because of his or her injuries. In these cases, you may be able to wait until you are mentally competent enough to proceed with a case.

Evidence to Support a Claim

You must also ensure you have sufficient evidence to build a successful case against liable parties.

Specifically, you must show that the liable party owed you a duty of care, such as driving responsibly on the road. Additionally, you will need to show how that party breached his or her duty of care, and that this breach of duty led to quantifiable damages, such as a permanent disability.

There are many pieces of evidence that help support a claim or lawsuit in these instances. Examples include medical records and bills, police reports, photos of your injuries and the accident scene, witness statements, doctors’ notes detailing your disability, and other documentation. If you’re unable to gather evidence, an attorney could help with this and ensure you get everything you need to build a strong case.

It’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as you can after an accident, which could help prevent your injuries from worsening and connect them more effectively to the accident.

The Liable Parties in Car Accident Cases

It’s important to identify all liable parties involved in your case to recover total compensation. There are several parties that could be responsible for car accidents, including:


Often, negligent drivers cause accidents through negligent behaviors. For instance, they might engage in distracted, impaired, or aggressive driving that leads to an accident and subsequent injuries.


While pedestrians have the right of way in most cases, some pedestrians may be negligent if they cross unexpectedly at locations that aren’t designated crosswalks or paths, such as when stepping out into the middle of the road and not giving drivers enough time to prepare.

Employers of Drivers

Employers of drivers, such as restaurants deploying delivery drivers, could be liable for an accident if their negligence contributed to the driver’s behavior to cause an accident.


A mechanic could be at fault for an accident if he or she fails to provide sufficient services and leaves a vehicle in a hazardous state.


Faulty vehicles or parts could also lead to accidents, making manufacturers responsible for defects in design or manufacture.


Potholes and other features or debris in the road could cause an accident, making local, state, or national governments liable for accidents if they fail to address these issues.

Get in Touch With the Right Attorney in Chicago

Following a car accident resulting in a permanent disability, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced car accident attorney in Chicago to discuss a case. The ideal lawyer will be able to discuss a case with you in a free consultation, determine the options available to you when it comes to compensation, and represent you in a case to reach a favorable disability settlement for your disability and ongoing care.

To connect with reputable attorneys who may be able to help you build a successful case, contact us at Ankin Law today and schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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