Hernias are a common workplace injury among worker who performs physically strenuous tasks such as heavy lifting.
The Missouri workers compensation system provides medical and wage loss benefits to workers who sustain injuries or develop illnesses as a result of the work they perform. It covers a wide variety of injuries and illnesses ranging from fractures to repetitive trauma injuries and occupational illnesses such as mesothelioma. Generally speaking, any injury or illness is covered as long as it occurred in the course and scope of employment. Our Kansas City, Missouri workers comp attorneys are often asked whether or not hernias are compensable under Missouri workers compensation.
A hernia is an injury in which an organ or fatty tissue pushes through a weak area or opening in the muscle or surrounding connective tissue. Hernias may occur in the outer groin, inner groin, upper stomach, belly button or at the site of a surgical incision.
Hernias are a common workplace injury among worker who performs physically strenuous tasks such as heavy lifting. These include factory workers, construction workers, farmers, and lawn care workers.
Some of the most common symptoms of a hernia include:
- The worker may feel a bulge over the site of the hernia
- Aching, burning, or gurgling sensation at the site of the bulge
- Pain or discomfort in the affected area, usually the lower abdomen, can be felt especially when coughing, bending over, or lifting
- Pressure, weakness, or feeling of heaviness in the abdomen
Are Hernias Covered by Workers Compensation in Missouri?
You may receive workers compensation benefits for a hernia if you can prove that the injury is work-related. Many hernia claims are rejected simply because the worker is unable to prove that the injury resulted from the work he/she did.
According to Section 287.195.1 of Missouri law:
“In all claims for compensation for hernia resulting from injury arising out of and in the course of the employment, it must be definitely proved to the satisfaction of the division or the commission:
(1) That there was an accident or unusual strain resulting in hernia;
(2) That the hernia did not exist prior to the accident or unusual strain resulting in the injury for which compensation is claimed.”
Treatment for Hernia
Most hernias require surgical treatment. If the worker has a pre-existing non-work related hernia that is aggravated through work and decides to go for elective surgery, he/she may or may not receive workers compensation benefits. However, if the worker has to undergo emergency surgery for a work-related or even a non-work related hernia that is aggravated by work, he/she may be entitled to workers compensation benefits. Emergency surgery is often required if the hernia is:
- strangulated (incarceration with compromised blood supply)
- incarcerated (irreducible)
- associated with, or is likely to cause, rupture of the bowel wall
Receiving Compensation for Work-Related Hernias
Hernias can cause significant pain, and an injured worker may need at least 8 weeks to recover from surgery. Workers compensation can cover medical bills and a part of lost wages. If you have difficulty proving your injury, you should get in touch with an experienced Kansas City Workers Compensation Attorney at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann. We have been helping injured workers recover after work injuries for over 20 years and have a proven track record of success. Call us today at (314) 361-4300 to schedule a free and private consultation.