Charting a Course After Permanent Disability from an Accident

May 14, 2024

An Unexpected Accident Leaves You Facing Permanent Injuries, Forever Changing Your Life and the Lives of Those Around You.

Charting a Course After Permanent Disability from an Accident in Rumson, NJImagine you are driving to work, cruising at 60mph, enjoying your favorite Saturday podcast, when all of a sudden, a careless driver drifts into your lane, nudging the passenger’s side back panel just enough to put you in a tailspin, eventually flipping your vehicle several times.  You wake up in a hospital bed, confused and in pain.  Besides several broken bones, you have suffered a TBI or traumatic brain injury and are told you have been in a coma for several weeks.  Your recovery will take years, and no one is exactly sure if you will ever recover completely.

Perhaps you are working at Costco in Allentown when a forklift’s faulty brakes cause an accident, running into you and leaving you with multiple fractures and internal bleeding.  The impact fractures two cervical bones, which sever your spinal cord, leaving you paralyzed from the neck down.

Both of these horrific accidents will have permanent repercussions in the lives of the injured and their families. Not only will there be a seemingly never-ending string of hospital bills and medical procedures, but lives will also be irrevocably changed.  Having suffered a permanent disability due to an accident, your earning potential may be gone. You may also be reliant on disability benefits and a possible settlement from a civil lawsuit to keep your household economically stable. Knowing that there are resources and even potential legal avenues available is important after suffering a permanent accident-related disability.

Examples of Permanent Disability Injuries


One type of permanent injury is scars.  Scars form when collagen builds up to repair a wound.  Deep and severe scarring can not only cause severe disfigurement but can also cause the skin to become taut, limiting mobility, especially near the jaw, shoulders, knees, or other joints.  Multiple surgeries can cause deep, tough scars that restrict movement.  Burns can produce scarring over a large surface area, as can lacerations and abrasions.  The emotional burden of disfigurement can render the victim depressed, anxious, and unable to work.


Dismemberment occurs when a body part is amputated.  This can occur at the time of the accident or if the body part is so damaged that it receives no circulation and must be removed before causing a deadly infection known as sepsis.  Dismemberment can result from crushed extremities, lost soft tissue, nerve damage, lacerations, deep burns, or shattered bones.


Paralysis is another debilitating permanent injury.  There is no way to fuse nerves once they are severed.  There are instances when the brain is able to reroute sensations, but only in the mildest of cases.  Paralysis can result from spinal cord injuries.  Typical cases of paralysis are paraplegia, caused by a spinal injury that causes paralysis from the hips to the feet, and quadriplegia, caused by a cervical injury and affects movement from the neck or shoulders to the feet.  In the case of quadriplegia, if the diaphragm or lung functions are compromised, a ventilator must be used to assist in respiration.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have a devastating effect on the injured party.  Short and long-term memory loss, loss of balance, difficulty speaking, poor hand-eye coordination, insomnia, constant headaches, mood swings, paresthesia, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, irritability, cognitive malfunction, and dizziness are effects of a TBI. They can be temporary in some cases and permanent in others.  These effects may not manifest themselves at the moment of the accident but can worsen over time.

Psychological Effects

A less-frequently discussed injury in an on-the-job or personal injury situation is the devastating mental issues that an accident can cause.  A serious bodily injury can have a psychological effect as well.  Many victims report feeling lonely and separated from their coworkers, family, and friends because they are bedridden or have limited mobility.  The world in which they interact becomes small, and they have fewer new experiences to share.  Depression is common in these cases, as are anxiety and PTSD.  Mental health issues can negatively affect a person’s ability to engage in daily tasks such as bathing, eating, and socializing.  Close family members may experience mental and emotional distress related to your care, finances, and other problems.

Overcoming the Emotional Hurdles of a Permanent Disability After an Accident

The most difficult challenge is accepting the limitations caused by an injury.  The inability to work and participate in sports and hobbies can have a negative effect.  It is important to seek out new hobbies and ways of doing the most practical tasks to create a sense of independence.  Relying on friends, family, and professional counseling is an important part of the process.  Talking about anxiety, concerns about the future, not wanting to be reliant on others, and even expressing anger and frustration about the situation are healthy ways to manage a permanent disability.  Isolation is poison and should be avoided at all costs.  Vocalizing negative emotions allows family and friends to offer their support and companionship.  Additionally, physical and occupational therapy provides ways to improve mobility, functionality, and strength. It can also give innovative alternatives to completing everyday tasks and augmenting independence.

Finding the Right Care Through Informed Action

Nowadays, information abounds from a multitude of sources regarding new treatments, practical tips, and the latest in mobility aids. By exploring the nature of a disability and applying that knowledge to the nature of their own situation, people are better equipped to advocate for themselves and make the best healthcare decisions for their needs.

New Jersey Permanent Total Disability Benefits for Injured Workers

Permanent total disability benefits for injured workers are paid according to 70% of the injured party’s gross average weekly pay.  Every year, the state of New Jersey establishes a minimum and maximum benefit rate.  In 2023, the minimum payment was $293, and the maximum was $1,099.  These amounts are adjusted every year for inflation.

If Social Security benefits are paid as well, a totally disabled claimant is allowed to collect both unless the combination exceeds a threshold set by Social Security.  These payments continue for the duration of the injured party’s life.  Contrary to Social Security recipients, a claimant receiving workers’ compensation benefits for total permanent disability cannot keep their benefits if they are employed.  Disabled workers are entitled to have their medical expenses paid for without limits or deductibles.

What’s Included in a Personal Injury Settlement for Permanent Disabilities

Long-Term Disability from an Accident in NJPersonal injury settlements include compensation for many different aspects of an injury.  In the case of a permanent disability, all medical costs, structural changes that need to be made to provide wheelchair access such as ramps and wider entryways of the home, lost past and future wages, loss of consortium, home nursing care if necessary, and additional physical and occupational therapy costs can be included.  Emotional and mental anguish fall under the category of pain and suffering and can be determined by mental health specialists.  Additionally, punitive damages can be sought if the accident was caused by obvious and egregious negligence.

Review Your Legal Options if You Have Permanent Disabilities from an Accident in NJ with Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh

When you are injured on the job or from a car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, or another incident, the focus should be on your health and welfare rather than how you will pay your medical bills and support your family.  Injured people with permanent disabilities from accidents who hire an attorney can leave the challenges of filing and handling claims to the experienced professionals, as those impacted by permanent disabilities have enough on their plates. You deserve to be compensated for your life-impacting injuries if you have a permanent job-related or accident-related disability.

Our attorneys at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh have the experience and resources to manage your workers’ compensation or personal injury case successfully in Long Branch, Holmdel, Manasquan, Red Bank, Colts Neck, Middletown, Wall, and elsewhere in Monmouth County and Ocean County.  We will gather the necessary evidence, contact expert witnesses, interview your medical health team and specialists,  and provide expert witnesses to buttress your claim.

If you have suffered a permanent disability injury as the result of an accident on or off the job, contact us today.  There is no obligation, just a consultation and a potential way forward. Contact us at 732-440-3950 or complete this form. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.