Any worker’s injury can be challenging to prove. Hernia workers’ comp settlements and claims tend to pose an even greater burden of proof for the injured employee. In most cases, the employee fails to report the accident that caused the hernia to occur. One of the primary responsibilities of a workers’ compensation lawyer is to prove the injury is work-related. Without the appropriate documentation, that job is often difficult to impossible.
What Is a Hernia?
A hernia, or rupture, occurs when an organ protrudes through the peritoneum, the muscular wall that holds the organ in place. They are fairly common and are caused by straining or from having weak muscles. If your job involves lifting heavy objects, you are susceptible to hernia.
The hernia usually causes an obvious bulge that makes diagnosis easy. The organ may go back through the opening in the muscle when you lie down. If you have a hernia, you should be able to push it back through when it protrudes. If you can’t, the hernia might be trapped in the muscle. This cuts off the blood supply and leads to a life-threating situation when it isn’t treated.
Inguinal hernias (those in the groin) are most common but they can occur in the navel, upper thigh, or groin region. Hernias are sometimes without symptom and they may not be dangerous. However, left untreated, they can lead to serious conditions and life-threating complications. In addition to the telltale bulge which becomes more prominent when you cough or lift something, symptoms often include:
- A burning sensation in the area of the bulge
- Pain or discomfort in the groin
- A heaviness or dragging sensation in the groin
- Pain and/or swelling around the testicles (Less common)
Another common type of work-related hernia is that of the spine or spinal discs. These injuries often involve the sciatic nerve which runs through the vertebrae, causing extreme lower back and leg pain.
Why Hernia Workers’ Comp Settlements Are Difficult to Win
Some people have a greater risk of developing a hernia. Risk factors include:
– Chronic Cough
– Premature Birth/Low Birth Weight
– Chronic Constipation
– Previous Inguinal Hernia or Repair Surgery (as an adult or child)
You are also at a greater risk of developing a hernia if you are male, older, white, or have a family history of hernia. Men are eight times more likely to get a hernia than women. If your job involves heavy lifting, you are at an even greater risk.
If the hernia comes about from a specific occurrence where you experience symptoms immediately, it’s easier to prove it was work related. Even if you are unsure the feelings of burning or sharp pain you experience are symptoms of a hernia, it’s important to follow the right procedure for making a claim. Remember failing to document what happened is the primary reason hernia workers’ comp settlements are denied. It’s better to report your suspicions of an injury than to wait until later. Otherwise, your employer and their insurance carrier will try to challenge your claim that the injury happened at work.
Hernias vary in severity and treatments vary as well. Sometimes manual manipulation is used to keep the hernia in place. More severe hernias with a greater risk of getting the blood supply cut off require surgery. Sometimes hernia surgery comes with an even greater risk to the patient. If you can prove that the hernia originated from work, you may be able to get a hernia workers’ comp settlement for treating the hernia. If complications arise from hernia surgery, then you must prove that the medical staff was negligent.
What to Expect from Your Hernia Compensation Claim
The value of your hernia compensation claim depends on a number of factors. The more severe the hernia, the more likely you are to spend a great deal for medical treatment and time lost from work. These factors increase the value of your claim.
Some people recover fairly quickly with minimal time off from work. Others require ongoing treatment and may need surgery and time to heal. The method of treatment makes a difference in how long it takes to heal. Sometimes the recovery takes longer than expected, resulting in more lost wages. If unexpected conditions arise as a result of the hernia or the treatment, recovery can become even more extensive.
What to Do When You Get a Hernia at Work
When you suspect a hernia, start documenting the related information at that time. Report the incident to your supervisor immediately and write down the time and date the injury occurred. Write down the details of the injury including the location and what you felt.
Who were you working with and who was your supervisor at the time? Every detail matters if you want to get a hernia workers’ comp settlement. Make sure everything is documented on paper and not just left to memory.
Ask your supervisor what to do about getting medical care. The requirements vary by state. Ask if you can choose your own doctor or if you must go to someone specific. Get the medical care you need and keep records. Where did you go? What tests did you receive? Keep a complete record of your treatment and follow any advice given by the healthcare provider.
It’s always a good idea to talk with a San Diego work comp lawyer as soon as you know you have a hernia. He can evaluate your case and help you understand your rights. If your hernia resulted from something you did while performing your job, you have the right to compensation while you heal. You also have the right to get medical treatment to restore your health.
Contact The House of Workers’ Compensation to schedule a free consultation. We are a team of San Diego personal injury attorneys who are dedicated to getting your best hernia workers’ comp settlement. Find out if you have a valid claim and what step to take next to get your case settled.