Disability

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Disability

The lack of competent physical and mental faculties; the absence of legal capability to perform an act.The term disability usually signifies an incapacity to exercise all the legal rights ordinarily possessed by an average person. Convicts, minors, and incompetents are regarded to be under a disability. The term is also used in a more restricted sense when it indicates a hindrance to marriage or a deficiency in legal qualifications to hold office.

The impairment of earning capacity; the loss of physical function resulting in diminished efficiency; the inability to work.

In the context of Workers' Compensation statutes, disability consists of an actual incapacity to perform tasks within the course of employment, with resulting wage loss, in addition to physical impairment that might, or might not, be incapacitating.

Under federal law, the definition of a disability, for Social Security benefits purposes, requires the existence of a medically ascertainable physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result in death or endures for a stated period, and an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to the impairment.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

disability

n. 1) a condition which prevents one from performing all usual physical or mental functions. This usually means a permanent state, like blindness, but in some cases is temporary. In recent times society and the law have dictated that people with disabilities should be accommodated and encouraged to operate to their maximum potential and have the right to participate in societal and governmental activity without impediments. Hence, access by ramps, elevators, special parking places and other special arrangements have become required in many statutes. 2) a legal impediment, including being a minor who cannot make a contract, or being insane or incompetent, as determined by others.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

DISABILITY. The want of legal capacity to do a thing.
     2. Persons may be under disability, 1. To make contracts. 2. To bring actions.
     3.-1. Those who want understanding; as idiots, lunatics, drunkards, and infants or freedom to exercise their will, as married women, and persons in duress; or who, in consequence of their situation, are forbidden by the policy of the law to enter into contracts, as trustees, executors, administrators, or guardians, are under disabilities to make contracts. See Parties; Contracts.
    4.-2. The disabilities to sue are, 1. Alienage, when the alien is an enemy. Bac. Ab. Abatement, B 3; Id. Alien, E: Com. Dig. Abatement , K; Co. Litt. 129. 2. Coverture; unless as co-plaintiff with her husband, a married woman cannot sue. 3. Infancy; unless he appears by guardian or prochein ami. Co. Litt. 135, b; 2 Saund. 117, f, n. 1 Bac. Ab. Infancy, K 2 Conn. 357; 7 John. 373; Gould, Pl. c. 5, Sec. 54. 4. That no such person as that named has any existence, is not, or never was, in rerum natura. Com. Dig. Abatement, E 16, 17; 1 Chit. Pl. 435; Gould on Pl. c. 5, Sec. 58; Lawes' Pl. 104; 19 John. 308. By the law of England there are other disabilities; these are, 1. Outlawry. 2. Attainder. 3. Praemunire. 4. Popish recusancy. 5. Monachism.
    5. In the acts of limitation it is provided that persons lying under certain disabilities, such as being non compos, an infant, in prison, or under coverture, shall have the right to bring actions after the disability shall have been removed.
    6. In the construction of this saving in the acts, it has been decided that two disabilities shall not be joined when they occur in different persons; as, if a right of entry accrue to a feme covert, and during the coverture she die, and the right descends to her infant son. But the rule is otherwise when there are several disabilities in the same person; as, if the right accrues to an infant, and before he has attained his full age, he becomes non compos mentis; in this case he may establish his right after the removal of the last disability. 2 Prest. Abs. of Tit. 341 Shep. To. 31; 3 Tho. Co. Litt. pl. 18, note L; 2 H. Bl. 584; 5 Whart. R. 377. Vide Incapacity.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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