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Various injuries can occur in workers who have to do heavy lifting. One of these is a hernia, which occurs when a weak spot or tear in a muscle enables the fatty tissue of an organ to push through it. It can cause symptoms like pain and a bulge in the affected area. The most common places for hernias include the belly button, the upper stomach, the inner groin and the outer groin.

The weakened tissue coupled with the pressure from the organ or fat can cause the hernia to pop out. Poor nutrition, obesity and smoking can all increase the chance of a hernia occurring. The injury might become more pronounced when you cough, sneeze, suffer from constipation or have diarrhea.

Are hernias compensable injuries?

Because not all hernias are work-related, some individuals might not realize that they are eligible for workers' compensation coverage. The key point in whether they are eligible has to do with the cause of the injury. If the hernia was the result of work duties or an accident at work, workers' compensation is possible. It is also possible to qualify if your work duties exacerbate an existing condition.

How is the cause determined?

The medical professional who oversees the case will work to determine the cause of the hernia. In some cases, a presumption about the cause being work related is made. This depends on the situation and amount of time that's lapsed between the last day of work and the discovery of the hernia.

Unless there is a presumption that applies, the employee will have to show that the hernia was related to their job. You might be able to do this through your medical records and incident reports that you filed with your employer.

What happens when you experience a hernia?

You need to get medical care right away. If you haven't reported the issue to your employer already, you should do so now. There are time limits to how long you have for getting your claim filed, so you shouldn't waste any time.

The workers' compensation coverage you receive for the hernia should include coverage for the medical bills and partial wage replacement if it is a workers' compensation claim. Many hernias require surgery to correct. This means that you'll have a multi-week recovery period during which you'll have to miss work.

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Bonifield & Rosenstengel
16 East Main Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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