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Are hernias compensable under California workers’ compensation?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2020 | Firm News |

Many job descriptions include the ability for the worker to be able to lift up to a certain weight. These workers, such as delivery drivers, manufacturing employees and fire fighters, can suffer harm because of the weight they might have to lift. When this happens, the employee may need to seek workers’ compensation coverage for the medical bills and time off they have to take.

One of the injuries that can occur at work is a hernia. This is a difficult condition to live with, and it usually requires surgery. Unfortunately, receiving workers’ compensation for a hernia isn’t always automatic.

What is a hernia?

A hernia occurs when fatty tissues or organs push through a tear or weak area of muscle. Often, this injury is associated with heavy lifting, but there are other causes like a fall, persistent coughing or constipation.

This injury can cause considerable pain that comes on suddenly, usually immediately after or while lifting something. People with a hernia will also notice a bulging area at the site of the injury. There are four primary types of hernias:

  • Hiatal: upper stomach
  • Inguinal: inner groin
  • Umbilical: belly button
  • Femoral: outer groin

When is it a compensable injury?

In California, some employees, such as police or correction officers and firefighters have the protection of a presumption rule when they develop a hernia. The presumption lasts up to 60 months after their employment ends. A case that falls under the presumption guidelines means that the employer has to show that the injury wasn’t related to work or else the workers’ compensation would be approved.

In the absence of the presumption guideline, it is up to the injured employee to prove that the hernia was due to work-related conditions. In order to do this, you should alert your employer to the issue as soon as possible. Be sure to make note of the specific sensations you felt when it occurred. You should also go to see a doctor right away.

A person who has a hernia will likely have to either take off work or go on a restricted duty status. The risk of the hernia worsening and the pain might make it difficult for the employee to do anything at all, but they still need an income. There is no reason why they should have to bear the entire financial burden for an injury they suffered at work.