The want of legal capability to perform an act. Term is generally used to indicate an incapacity for the full enjoyment of ordinary legal rights; thus, persons under age, insane persons, and convicts are said to be under legal disability. Sometimes the term is used in a more limited sense, as when it signifies an impediment to marriage, or the restraints placed upon clergymen by reason of their spiritual avocations, or lack of legal qualifications to hold office. As used in connection with workers' compensation acts, disability is a composite of
(1) actual incapacity to perform the tasks usually encountered in one's employment and the wage loss resulting therefrom (i.e. impairment of earning capacity), and
(2) physical impairment of the body that may or may not be incapacitating. Russell v. Bankers Life Co., 46 Cal.App.3d 405, 120 Cal.Rptr. 627, 633.
Statutory definition of a "disability," for social security benefits purposes, imposes three requirements:
(1) that there be a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or to be of long-continued and indefinite duration;
(2) that there be an inability to engage in any substantial gainful employment; and
(3) that the inability be by reason of the impairment. 42 U.S.C.A. No.No. 416(iXD, 423(d). Pierce v. Gardner, C.A.I11., 388 F.2d 846, 847.
Inability to work without some pain or discomfort does not necessarily satisfy test of disability. DeFontes v. Celebrezze, 226 F.Supp. 327, 330 (D.C.R.I.).
However, pain by itself or pain in conjunction with other injuries may be the basis for "disability" within meaning of the Social Security Act. Farmer v. Weinberger, D.C.Pa., 368 F.Supp. 1, 5.
Absence of competent physical, intellectual, or moral powers; impairment of earning capacity; loss of physical function that reduces efficiency; inability to work. Rorabaugh v. Great Eastern Casualty Co., 117 Wash. 7, 200 P.2d 587, 590.
Under Uniform Probate Code, an incapacitated person is one who is impaired by reason of physical disability.
See also capacity
- loss of earning capacity
- permanent injury
- temporary disability
General Classification
Disability may be either general or special; the former when, it incapacitates the person for the performance of all legal acts of a general class, or giving to them their ordinary legal effect; the latter when it debars him from one specific act.
Disability may also be either personal or absolute; the former where it attaches to the particular person, and arises out of his status, his previous act, or his natural or juridical incapacity; the latter where it originates with a particular person, but extends also to his descendants or successors.
The term civil disability is used as equivalent to legal disability, both these expressions meaning disabilities or disqualifications created by positive law, as distinguished from physical disabilities.
A physical disability is a disability or incapacity caused by physical defect or infirmity, or bodily imperfection, or mental weakness or alienation; as distinguished from civil disability, which relates to the civil status or condition of the person, and is imposed by the law.
@ partial disability
Under workers' compensation law, incapacity in part from returning to work performed before accident. Such exists if employee is unable to perform duties in which he was customarily engaged when injured or duties of same or similar character, nature, or description, but is able to engage in gainful activity at some job for which he is fitted by education, training or experience. Daney v. Argonaut Ins. Co., La.App., 421 So.2d 331, 338.
- permanent disability
- temporary disability
@ total disability
Total disability to follow insured's usual occupation arises where person is incapacitated from performing any substantial part of his ordinary duties, though still able to perform a few minor duties and be present at his place of business. "Total disability" within an accident policy does not mean absolute physical disability to transact any business pertaining to insured's occupation, but disability from performing substantial and material duties connected with it. The term may also apply to any impairment of mind or body rendering it impossible for insured to follow continuously a substantially gainful occupation without seriously impairing his health, the disability being permanent when of such nature as to render it reasonably certain to continue throughout the lifetime of insured.
See also permanent disability
- wholly disabled
+ total disability
A person is "totally disabled" if his physical condition, in combination with his age, training, and experience, and the type of work available in his community, causes him to be unable to secure anything more than sporadic employment resulting in an insubstantial income. Cavanaugh v. Frederick Willys, Inc., Minn., 361 N.W.2d 49, 50.
Means loss of earning power as a worker, manifested either by inability to perform work obtainable or inability to secure work, and not absolute helplessness or entire physical disability. Clark v. Gilley, Ky., 311 S.W.2d 391, 392.
With meaning of workers' compensation acts, means lack of ability to follow continuously some substantially gainful occupation without serious discomfort or pain and without material injury to health or danger to life. McKissick Products Corp. v. Gardner, Okl., 280 P.2d 718, 720.
See also disability
- temporary total disability

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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