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[Legal Dictionary] Definition of Disability

July 6, 2015 Legal Dictionary

Anyone with a grasp of the English language knows what disability refers to. But do you know the legal definition, as it pertains to personal injury law? If you’re considering legal action after an injury, it’s important to know precisely what is meant by “disability.”

Disability as a Legal Term

The legal definition of a disability is “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental impairment.” The “substantial gainful activity” often refers to work, but not always.

Disability, in legal terms, can affect not only your ability to work, but also to engage in other activities, particularly those you were accustomed to enjoying before your injuries.

For example, the loss of a leg may not affect your ability to work as a copywriter, but your tennis game is going to suffer, even with the finest prosthetic devices available. In such a case, the law recognizes your disability even though you’re likely to be able to return to work at or above your previous rate of pay. Your enjoyment of sports or other favorite activities is a gainful activity.

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