One day at work, you were lifting some boxes or doing something that requires a bit of strength behind it and you feel some pain around your torso. When you look at it later, you notice a bulge coming out of your abdomen or groin. It’s not a tumor, but rather a hernia, which can be just as scary.
A hernia is when a portion of an organ or the fatty tissue that surrounds it actually is squeezed through a weak spot or tear in the surrounding muscle. Typically, this happens in the abdomen wall or around the groin as this is where the muscle is prone to weakness. Obviously, this caused pain and can cause organ damage is ignored. When they do develop, surgery is the only option to fix them.
Are Hernias Covered By Worker’s Compensation?
The issues with developing a hernia at work are much the same as the issues that make coverage of repetitive stress injuries difficult. In order to receive worker’s compensation for any injury, it needs to have happened at work. Unfortunately for hernias, you often have to prove this to the worker’s compensation system.
If you have a job in construction that involves lifting and hauling every day, for example, then it can definitely be argued that this happened at work even if it took awhile for you to discover it. However, hernias have a few unique problems with them, one being that they can be present from birth. However, typically you would have noticed that after working a labor intensive job for awhile.
Other contributing factors for hernias are age, smoking, pregnancy, weight gain, and constipation. The older you are and the longer you have been working a labor intensive job, the less you will find that they fight your claim, because it becomes very likely that your work did cause a hernia. However, claims adjusters, even for state-run worker’s compensation, still have the job to keep costs low. So if you are also a smoker, they may state that your chronic smoker’s cough led to the hernia instead of work.
What to Do When They Call Your Hernia a Non-Work Injury?
The surgery to repair a hernia is expensive and you will require some time to heal after it, so if the system is trying to classify your hernia as not a work injury, you shouldn’t take that lying down. The first thing you should do, if you have not already, is get into contact with a local worker’s compensation attorney. They can help walk you through everything you need to do next, including standing up to claims adjusters and gathering proof to show that yes, your job was a significant contributing factor if not the complete cause of the hernia.
Typically, proof that your job was the cause will come in the form of doctor examinations and testimony. They will weigh the daily tasks and duties you do at your job combined with lifestyle factors to see what was more of a contributing cause. Certainly smoking may lead to a hernia eventually, but the pressure build up inside your abdomen by lifting heavy things at your job is definitely going to be more of a factor.
Have you developed a hernia at work and hope to get worker’s compensation for it? Do you have any other work injuries that needs treatment, but also worker’s compensation to cover it? If you have been hurt at work, the worker’s compensation system doesn’t make it easy to get the coverage you need. Contact us today to see how the Farrish Johnson Law Office is helping injured Minnesota workers get the compensation that they deserve.
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