You’re at work, lifting a heavy box, when you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your side. Upon further inspection, you find a painful bulge in your lower abdomen. It could be a hernia. What do you do? After a visit to your health care provider, you should consider the cause of your injury. This particular example certainly seems like a “work-related accident,” but is it covered by workers’ compensation? We have been asked this question a number of times over the years.
What is a Hernia?
When tissue or an organ pushes through weakened muscle, it is referred to as a hernia. There are many different types of hernias affecting everything from the groin to the belly button. The most common hernias include:
- Inguinal (inner groin)
- Femoral (outer groin)
- Umbilical (belly button)
- Hiatal (upper stomach)
Hernias are often the result of heavy lifting, but certain factors can increase your chances of developing a hernia. For example, obesity and smoking both increase the risk substantially. Even a chronic cough or constipation can lead to a hernia. So how do you prove that your hernia is work related?
How Do I Prove a Hernia is Work Related?
To be eligible for workers’ comp, you have to show that your hernia is a direct result of a work injury. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a pre-existing condition. For example, if you had a minor hernia prior to the on-the-job accident, and the accident aggravated it or made it worse, you may still qualify for coverage. If you believe you’ve suffered a hernia, see your doctor immediately and report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. Your chances of a successful claim will increase if you are prepared.
Presumption Rules for Certain Occupations
Certain occupations, such as police officers and firefighters, are handled a bit differently. In these cases, the responsibility to prove how the injury occurred is shifted to the employer. In these types of jobs, a hernia is presumed to be job related. However, if the employer can prove otherwise, the claim can still be denied. In all workers’ comp cases, there are strict statutes of limitations on when you can file your claim. Don’t delay.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Workers’ Compensation Law Firm Serving All of Massachusetts
For more than 50 years we’ve been protecting the rights of MA workers. If you have been injured on-the-job, the workers’ comp team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help you get the benefits you deserve in a timely manner. Furthermore, if negligence played a role in your injuries, you may be entitled to additional compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Workers’ comp is a highly complex area of the law, and it is in your best interest to work with an attorney who has extensive experience in this area. We will make sure you understand your rights and options before moving forward. Don’t go through this alone. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.