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The absence of legal ability, competence, or qualifications.
An individual incapacitated by infancy, for example, does not have the legal ability to enter into certain types of agreements, such as marriage or contracts.
Under provisions of Workers' Compensation laws, the term incapacity refers to the inability to find and retain employment due to a disease or injury that prevents the performance of the customary duties of a worker.
adj. 1) not being able to perform any gainful employment due to congenital disability, illness (including mental), physical injury, advanced age, or intellectual deficiency. This is significant in claims for workmen's compensation, disability insurance, or Social Security claims under "SSI." 2) lacking the ability to understand one's actions in making a will, executing some other document, or entering into an agreement. A challenge to the validity of a will often turns on a claim that the person (now dead and unable to testify) lacked the capacity to understand what he/she owned, who were the "natural objects of his/her bounty" (close relatives primarily), that no one was able to dominate the testator's (will writer's) judgment so as to exert "undue influence." Mental weakness may show lack of capacity to make a will, as can fear, intimidation, or persistent drunkenness. Example: an old lady is kept well supplied with whiskey for several months by her greedy sisters, who finally convince her to change the will from benefitting her children to benefitting them, when she is blotto and fearful they will cut off her supply. A court would probably find she had lacked capacity to decide to make the latest version of the will. (See: incompetent)
incapacitynoun adynamy, anility, caducity, disablement, disenablement, disqualification, dotage, failure, feebleness, helplessness, impotence, impuissance, inability, inadequacy, inaptitude, incapability, incompetence, incompetency, incomprehension, inefficacy, inefficiency, ineptitude, infirmity, lack of caaacity, lack of fitness, lack of power, morosis, unfitness, unproficiency, unskillfulness, weakness
Associated concepts: disability, incapacity for work, incapaccty to sue, legal incapacity, mental incapacity, permanent incapacity, physical incapacity, total incapacity
See also: abortion, disability, disqualification, fault, frustration, ignorance, impotence, impuissance, inability, incompetence, inefficacy
INCAPACITY. The want of a quality legally to do, give, transmit, or receive
2. It arises from nature, from the law, or from both. From nature, when the party has not his senses, as, in the case of an idiot; from the law, as, in the case of a bastard who cannot inherit from nature and the law; as, in the case of a married woman, who cannot make contracts or a will.
3. In general, the incapacity ceases with the cause which produces it. If the idiot should obtain his senses, or the married woman's husband die, their incapacity would be at an end.
4. When a cause of action arises during the incapacity of a person having the right to sue, the act of limitation does not, in general, commence to run till the incapacity has been removed. But two incapacities cannot be joined in order to come within the statute.