Having a hernia is not an uncommon experience. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that more than one million hernia repair surgeries are performed across the country each year, with a large portion of these surgeries performed for inguinal hernias, which occur in the inner groin area, when the intestines protrude through the lower abdominal wall. Heavy lifting is one of the factors that increases an individual’s risk of developing a hernia.
If you work in a job that requires heavy lifting and you’ve developed a hernia as a result of performing job-related tasks, your hernia can be considered a work-related injury. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your right to workers’ compensation benefits and may be able to provide services to assist you in obtaining these benefits.
California’s workers’ compensation laws require nearly all private employers with employees in the state to obtain an insurance policy that provides coverage of work-related injuries and illnesses. The types of benefits available through this coverage include:
In order to obtain benefits from workers’ compensation, the employee who has suffered a work-related injury or illness must first report the injury to their employer. While this should be done within 30 days of the injury or illness, it is encouraged that the claim be filed as soon as possible after the injury or illness has occurred. Within one working day of reporting your hernia to your employer, they are required to provide you with a workers’ compensation claim form. This form must be filled out and sent by postal mail to the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) within one year of the injury.
Once a claim has been submitted, the employer’s insurance provider must authorize payment of up to $10,000 for your medical treatment, even as they investigate whether the claim is compensable. If the insurer does not render a decision on the claim within 90 days, it will be considered approved. After the worker has missed 14 days of work as a result of their injury, the insurer must begin providing temporary disability payments.
While hernias are often considered work-related—particularly for those who have a job that requires frequent heavy lifting—there can be some challenges in obtaining the benefits you are entitled to receive. Part of the reason that many hernia claims are disputed by the insurer is that hernias can occur for a number of reasons, such as a previous history of hernias, pregnancy, chronic constipation, and even simply being a white male with a family history of hernias.
Additionally, many individuals who have suffered work-related hernias do not immediately realize that they’ve been injured or that the injury was caused by a specific incident that occurred at work. If you believe you have suffered a hernia while performing work-related tasks, it is important to seek prompt medical attention, not only to ensure that you receive the treatment you need to ensure a better recovery, but also to begin obtaining the documentation required to link the occurrence of the injury with a specific work-related task. It is also important to note the date on which the injury occurred and the specific task you were performing at the time. Finally, if you have suffered a work-related hernia, it is important to talk with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer about your case.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney provides a deep understanding of both the law and the process to your case, helping you to gather the evidence needed to link the injury to your work activities. Your attorney may be able to assist you in filing your workers’ compensation claim, gathering the treatment documentation necessary to support the claim, and can represent you through the appeals process if your claim is denied.
Because workers’ compensation claims involve personal injury, the attorneys who assist claimants with this type of case can work on a contingent fee basis. What this means is that you do not have to pay upfront to obtain the services of your legal team, and you will not be billed for the services as they are performed. Instead, you will enter an agreement with your lawyer in which their fees are contingent on a successful outcome to your claim. If the claim does not result in benefits, you do not have to pay for your attorney’s services. If, however, you do receive a settlement for your claim, your attorney’s fees will be paid through that settlement.
Hernias frequently result in pain and discomfort, but luckily, most hernias can be surgically repaired. If you suffered a work-related hernia, the costs of treating the injury and the wage loss associated with healing from it can be significant. The experienced legal team from KCNS Law Group has over 40 years of experience in assisting injured workers in obtaining the benefits they need after a workplace injury has occurred. We have the knowledge and experience to assist our clients in connecting their injury with their work-related tasks in order to help garner a successful California workers’ compensation claim.
Let our attorney evaluate your claim and tell you more about the workers’ compensation claims process. For your free case evaluation with an attorney from KCNS Law Group, contact us by calling (818) 937-9255 or simply fill out our convenient contact form.