(901) 244-0057

School is back in session for the 2023-2024 school year. Whether you are a teen driver or an adult driver, it is important to understand that car crash injuries make up a significant portion of social security disability recipients in the greater Memphis metro area and mid south region of Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. It is particularly sad and distressing to Mr. Heermans, of Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm, when he represents a school age child, applying for children’s social security disability benefits due to a car related injury. Mr. Heermans says, “I would give anything to be able to help that child go back in time, to not be in that accident. Unfortunately, that is not within my power. But what I can do is make sure that the Heermans Disability Law Firm does everything possible to secure the disability benefits that the child qualifies for.”

3 Best Social Security Disability Attorneys In Memphis

Usually people start looking for a social security disability lawyer near me due to a chronic illness. But over a third of disability applications are injury related. This time of year, every parent with a teen or young adult driver going to school or college will get nervous just thinking about their child being on the road. We all know that injuries can not only happen to drivers, but to their passengers as well. And in the end, it doesn’t matter if you were at fault or the other person…an injury is an injury. 

What makes applying for social security disability insurance (SSDI) unique is that, unlike victims who file civil court claims, Social Security Disability applicants don’t have to prove negligence or fault. They must only prove the injury substantially caused a permanent disability.

Let’s break down some of the requirements used to determine a person’s eligibility for disability. To a Heermans, SSI lawyer near you, substantial cause usually means but-for cause. No, this was not a typo…let us explain some nerdy legal stuff for a minute. The but-for test is used to ask the question, “but for the existence of X, would Y have occurred?” Let’s take for example, a pre-existing condition, like a bad knee that might contribute to a disability. If a car crash transformed a manageable knee injury into an unmanageable one, this could pass the but-for test. It also needs to be “permanent” which usually means more than one year. And lastly, “disability” means a medical condition that prevents the applicant from working or managing normal activity; for example, the ability to perform activities needed for a child to go to school and participate in after-school activities. 

Frequently, injury-related claims can take much longer to resolve than non-injury disability claims. Sometimes, Social Security Administration doctors aren’t used to evaluating injury-related disabilities. The lack of familiarity can delay the evaluation and approval process. The Heermans Social Security Law Firm, a dedicated SSI law firm, stands by applicants throughout the process, providing ongoing support and encouragement. Whether it’s a short or long process, Heermans award-winning best disability lawyers near me don’t give up until they obtain the best possible results given the applicant’s circumstances. Approval for benefits can include monthly cash payments and free Medicaid health care. Now let’s take a look at the 7 most common disability car crash injuries. 

2023 Disability Awards National Top

250 Law Firm Award from the Social Security Disability Leadership

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Modern cars and trucks are so fast and large that no safety restraint system, however advanced, can possibly absorb all the force in a high-speed wreck. Low-speed car wrecks could also cause disabling head-neck injuries. More on that below.

The aforementioned force in a high-speed wreck, as opposed to a trauma impact, often causes a TBI. When car crash victims surge forward and backward during wrecks, their brains slam against the insides of their skull, like a basketball player dribbling a ball through traffic.

TBIs are normally disabling because they are often pronounced permanent by the doctor. Once brain cells die, it is assumed that they do not regenerate. Brain injury physical therapists might be able to train uninjured areas of the brain to take over lost functions. But that’s not possible in all cases.


This head-neck injury is especially common in low-speed wrecks. The force in a low-speed wreck also makes the brain mash against the skull. But the motion is more like a jostling rather than a slamming.

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that normally doesn’t appear on X-ray pictures and other diagnostic test results. Therefore, when car crash victims complain of initial whiplash symptoms, like neck soreness, doctors frequently conclude that the victims just need rest and maybe some Tylenol.

As a result, untreated whiplash can go on to get worse and can eventually cause neck and/or shoulder paralysis. This partial paralysis makes daily activities almost impossible to perform.

Once again, the doctor’s failure to diagnose whiplash partially contributed to the whiplash. But the car wreck substantially caused this disabling condition.

Fractures and Joint Injuries

Seat belts often protect core bones, like ribs and pelvises. But they usually don’t protect the extremities, like the arms and legs. Therefore, serious broken arms and legs are very common car crash injuries.

“Broken” bones is a misnomer in these situations. The extreme force of a wreck regularly shatters these bones. Therefore, doctors must use metal plates, pins, screws, or other parts to surgically reconstruct these bones. That invasive surgery can cause later complications, such as bone spurs. Additionally, these injuries usually have lasting effects, like lost range of  motion in an ankle or knee and ongoing pain that can develop into arthritis

Seat belts might partially protect the pelvis, but as mentioned, the force is so extreme that this bone is still exposed to danger. A broken pelvis could be life-threatening in many cases.

Back Injuries

The spine is so vulnerable that a trauma impact or a jostling motion could cause a permanent and disabling injury.

Severe trauma can often rupture discs around the thin bones, which contain viscous fluid. Broken discs regularly cause incredibly painful pinched nerves and/or paralysis. Either injury is normally considered disabling according to the SSA Blue Book, since these wounds significantly disrupt everyday work functions, like sitting and standing.

The jostling movement in a low-speed crash often has a similar effect. The spine, especially the cervical spine near the neck, is very delicate and very vulnerable. If the chain of nerves is misaligned, victims usually experience debilitating pain and/or paralysis, as mentioned above.

Severe Burns

Like the other aforementioned injuries, effects from burns are often permanent. The physical and emotional scars are normally the most disabling components of these injuries.

Physical scarring, especially on the face, hands, or another visible body part, is usually disabling, especially if the disability applicant works in a customer-facing job, like sales. Such scars also affect a person’s confidence. That limitation decreases the chances of getting a job in a competitive environment or having a normal childhood and school experience.

PTSD or Anxiety

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder strikes almost half of car crash victims. Sometimes, PTSD symptoms might or might not be disabling. Hypervigilance is a good example. Some car crash victims won’t return to the scene of the crime, so to speak. They simply avoid the area where the crash occurred. Other victims are too afraid to get in a car.

A combination of medication and therapy usually manages hypervigilance and other symptoms, like depression and anger. But, like a TBI, the injury itself is permanent. Extreme stress has been shown to alter brain chemistry.

Sensory Loss

We mentioned lost functions in a TBI above. These lost functions often include sight, hearing, and other senses. A trauma injury could also cause sensory loss. Loose objects, like a cell phone, can fly around the passenger area at high speeds during crashes. A cell phone alone can act like a plate of glass and hit your eyes, ears, or noses.

The Amercians with Disabilities Act and The Social Security Act work to provide protection to those with disabilities. Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm, the award-winning SSI disability lawyers in Memphis, also provides protection for those who are disabled. Their lawyers can help you reapply for benefits if your claim has already been denied, and you can find out if you might qualify for benefits with a FREE Disability Evaluation. Call or text Heermans Law Firm 24/7 at (901) 244-0057. More value added FREE information can be found in our online article library.


Please be advised that all content, including Blog articles, on the website heermansdisability.com and  Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED OR SUBSTITUTED FOR LEGAL ADVICE. THE INFORMATION INCLUDED IN OR AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SITE MAY INCLUDE INACCURACIES OR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS. No guarantees are made and the use of the website, content, and any information provided is at your own risk. If you are seeking legal advice, you are strongly encouraged to consult with a competent attorney in your jurisdiction who can provide you with legal advice on your particular matter where individual state, county, or city laws may apply.