Many gunshot victims can recover with proper treatment and weeks or months of healing. But tragically, some victims face more severe injuries that prevent them from returning to their normal work. These victims with injuries and limitations lasting longer than 12 months can file for Social Security Disability.
The documentation required for gunshot victims to file such a claim is extensive. That’s why it’s smart to hire a legal team, like the personal injury lawyers at Wright Gray, to help you through this process and learn what your options are.
Social Security Administration Disability Definitions
While some gunshot wounds only affect soft tissue, which heals quickly, others affect muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Scar tissue can result in limited function of the affected area. A challenging aspect of gunshot victims’ injuries is that physical limitations might not show up for many months or even years after the injury as the scar tissue builds up.
That’s why it’s important to know from the start what documentation is required should you need to seek disability later. And it’s very helpful to have a legal team guiding you throughout this challenging process. We’ll explain the requirements for filing a disability claim related to a gunshot wound.
The Social Security Administration lists 14 main categories of adult impairments that qualify for coverage. Some of these that apply to gunshot injuries include:
- Injuries to the spinal cord. This is one of the most severe types of long-term gunshot injuries. These injuries can cause paralysis and cognitive issues. Spinal disorders fall under section 1.00 of the Social Security Administration, which covers musculoskeletal systems.
- Neurological damage. Victims who suffer neurological damage can look for guidance in section 11.00.
- Joint dysfunction (section 1.02).
- Damage to soft tissue (section 1.08).
- Anxiety disorders (section 12.06).
These are all common injuries associated with gunshot victims.
Individuals who suffer a gunshot wound while committing a felony are not eligible for disability benefits. This is true regardless of the injuries they sustain as a result of their wounds.
Gunshot wound documentation for a disability claim
The main reason for a social security disability claim to be denied is inadequate medical evidence. To assess your ability to work in any capacity, the Social Security Administration will look at both your injuries and the care you received for those injuries.
To prove such care, you’ll need all records from the moment you sustained the gunshot wound to current care records. Some of the most important records will include x-rays or other imaging scans.
Individuals who suffer mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, will need to show mental health treatment and diagnosis to receive disability benefits.
While your medical records will tell a clear story of your injury and the aftermath you’ve faced since sustaining the injury, a Residual Functional Capacity form can offer even more detail about your physical capabilities. In this form, your doctor will document your abilities in the following categories:
- Fingering, reaching, and handling
- Lifting, pulling, carrying, and pushing
- Sitting, walking, and standing
- Crouching, kneeling, balancing, climbing, crawling, and stooping
Gunshot victims who are dealing with mental trauma from the ordeal and can file a mental Residual Functional Capacity form. In this case, your doctor will detail your ability to carry out instruction, concentrate for long periods, work and interact with others, attend work, and avoid serious psychological symptoms from interrupting your work.
Are You a Gunshot Victim? Hire Experienced Louisiana Attorneys for a Disability Claim Evaluation
Because so many disability claims get denied, it can be helpful to have an attorney review your documentation before submitting your claim. Wright Gray New Orleans attorneys understand the undue hardships gunshot victims face.
We’ll work with you to guide you in preparing proper documentation to prove your disability claim. While we’re reviewing your circumstances, we’ll see if you might qualify for a third-party personal injury lawsuit against the property owner where you were shot. This is another area of opportunity to help victims financially after suffering the devastating injury of a gunshot wound.
Schedule your free consultation with our team now to learn more about our legal services for gunshot victims.