How to Present the Impact of Disability on Your Life
When you are addressing the impact of your disability on your life, it is important to remember that two people with the same disability may have hugely different impacts on their lives. This can be based on a number of things including their educational backgrounds, age, and occupation. So, remember, when presenting the impact of your disability you want to first address who you are and what you do—what makes you different.
When discussing your disability, you are likely in one of two situations:
1. Disability is preventing you from returning to work indefinitely; or
2. You have returned to work with limitations.
How Do I Present the Impact of Disability on My Life When Off Work Indefinitely?
When disability places you off work indefinitely, you would say that it has prevented you from performing your own job. However, in the long-term, insurance companies are concerned with whether disability has prevented you from performing any job that you are reasonably suited to.
Specifically, what the insurance companies will do is suggest that there is some other job that you are well suited to. This job must be similar to your former job both in pay and in the nature of work that is done. This job can include jobs that you are not yet qualified for but could become capable of doing with some reasonable effort or expense.
So, insurance companies are considering two things:
1. Is there a similar job that you could do currently?
2. Is there a similar job you could do after minimal effort or expense?
When addressing either of these questions, this is where your characteristics come in. Whether you can do a job currently or whether you could do a job after some effort or expense depends on your education, training, experience, and former occupation, as well as your medical condition and age.
Your Former Occupation
When looking at your former occupation, the insurance company will consider the area that you worked in, the type of work done, and the qualifications you required.
• If you worked as a barber, general laborer, or a similar job, they will be unable to suggest you could reasonably do a job which requires a university degree.
• If you worked in the restaurant industry, they should not be able to suggest that you should be doing a job in childcare.
• However, if you worked as a door-to-door salesperson and are unable to do this due to walking limitations, they may be able to suggest that you should be able to work as a phone salesperson if the salary is similar.
Your Education, Training, and Experience,
When looking at your work background, the insurance company will consider your education, your training, and your experience.
• If you do not have a high school education, they should not suggest that you can perform jobs that require one.
• If you have limited proficiency in a language, they cannot suggest that you could perform jobs that require this proficiency.
• However, if you have training in customer service, they may be able to suggest that you could work at a call center if the type of work is similar to what you did before.
Your Medical Condition
Your medical condition can play an important factor in your disability claim. Specifically, however, insurance companies are interested in how your medical condition has impacted your job duties. For example:
• If your disability is entirely limited to your lower half, an insurance company may suggest that you are entirely able to do stationary jobs such as working at a call center; or
• If you have mild cognitive effects and work in a more physical job such as painting, they may suggest that you are still able to do all of your duties.
It is important that you address specifically how your injuries impact your ability to perform the duties of your job, for example:
• If your disability may be limited to your lower half but you cannot sit stationary for long periods, which makes you unsuited to doing work at a call center; or
• You have mild cognitive effects, and you work in painting, but you are often required to be up high and have frequent bouts of dizziness.
How Do I Present the Impact of Disability on My Life When I Have Returned to Work With Limitations?
If you returned to work despite your limitations, and insurance company may try to make the argument that this shows you do not have a disability which prevents you from performing your job duties adequately, but this is not the case.
Many courts in Canada have addressed this issue and rejected the argument that simply because you returned to work, you cannot claim disability. In fact, your efforts in returning to your job can be used to support your disability claim, especially if your return has gone or appears to be going poorly.
Examples of factors that can show the impact of disability on your job include:
• If you persistently experience pain and fatigue at your job;
• If your employer has noted that you are consistently unable to perform your job duties;
• If you have attempted multiple returns to work which have failed;
• If you have symptoms that a reasonable employer would not expect you to work with; and
• If you have a substantial inability to perform your employment duties.
How Can NOVA Injury Help?
At NOVA Injury Law we will act on your behalf to advocate for you in your disability claim.
The whole idea behind a disability claim is to ensure you are provided compensation for your disability – and this is a wide-ranging task with unique facts in each case. To learn more about NOVA Injury Law’s approach to protecting disability claims, contact us now to book your free Case Review. During the free Case Review process, we will give you our honest opinion about your case, how much your disability claim might be worth, and what you should consider as your next steps.
If you are in need of legal advice or representation for your disability claim in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or anywhere in Atlantic Canada, our personal injury lawyers are here to help. Contact us today and tell us more about your claim – we are here to help!