Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

Can Shoveling Snow Lead to Brain Injury? It Happens

by | Jan 5, 2011 | SSD - Social Security Disability Benefits For Injuries |

According to Dr. Andrew Kiragu, chair of the board for the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota, the leading cause of decreased quality of life is brain injury. And in Minnesota (and likely many other states with heavy snowfall and cold weather conditions), many people sustain a brain injury during the months of December through March. This happens typically because of falls on ice and snow. If you’ve suffered a brain injury and can no longer work because of the symptoms, you may be asking yourself, am I eligible for disability benefits?

The short answer is there is no guarantee of success in any claim for Social Security Disability benefits. But a brain injury is certainly debilitating. For one Minnesota resident, Amy Pahl – competitive skier, cliff jumper, skydiver – a brain injury sustained as a result of slipping on ice while shoveling her sidewalk resulted in more than two years of therapy. Pahl, an editor, even had to relearn how to read.

Pahl estimates she’d been unconscious for five to ten minutes before her husband found her. After the fall, she experienced a range of symptoms. She could not walk, read, or speak. The problems began after three days. “Things just started going away,” Pahl said, as KARE 11 reports.

A serious brain injury like the one Pahl sustained could very well have left her unable to work. For Pahl to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, she must have had an impairment that prevented her from engaging in “substantial gainful activity” – defined as a job that earns $1,000 per month (for 2010) – for at least a year or is expected to result in death.

Given that Pahl could not walk, read, or speak, and required more than two years of therapy, she probably could’ve made a good case for her Social Security Disability eligibility.

Source: Woman recovers from brain injury suffered while shoveling snow



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