[Legal Dictionary] Definition of Disability
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit after an injury, the term “disability” may figure prominently in your case. Under New York law, a disability is the inability to engage in “substantial gainful activity” because of a physical or mental impairment.
The gainful activity referred to is not limited to work. Your enjoyment of hobbies, sports or other activities, particularly those in which you engaged before your injuries, are included in the classification.
For example, if a construction worker loses an arm in an accident, he or she can no longer work in that field. This is a disability. The gainful activity in this case is work.
In another example, a medical transcription clerk suffers a 50 percent hearing loss. The clerk also plays cello in the local community symphony. While her office job is not affected, she finds she can no longer hear the other musicians well enough to play. The gainful activity in this case is her hobby of playing music with a group; the hearing loss is a disability.