Posted On: September 30, 2010 by Steven J. Malman

Workers’ Compensation: Court Says Man’s Hernia is a Work-Related Injury

The highest court in Wyoming says that James L. Bell is entitled to medical benefits for a hernia he developed as a result of a work injury. The court’s ruling reverses a district court’s ruling that reversed the order made by the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Bell sustained a hernia when the spinal cord stimulator that he was using for the chronic back pain he suffered from another work injury malfunctioned and shocked him. This caused him to get up fast, fall, and develop an inguinal hernia.

The spinal cord stimulator had been implanted in Bell to treat his pain after he hurt his neck, shoulder, right leg, and back from slipping on a drain cover while at work in June 1993. He was awarded permanent total disability benefits for his work injury and continues to receive workers’ compensation benefits for his chronic pain. Aside from the spinal cord stimulator—Bell received one in 2000 and another one in 2006—he has been taking pain medications.

After the hernia was diagnosed, Bell underwent surgery in 2007. Unfortunately, payment for the medical care required to treat his hernia was denied on the grounds that it wasn’t related to his 1993 back injury. Bell contested the decision by claiming that his hernia was causally related to the original work injury from 1993. He noted that he was injured in a fall accident because of the faulty electrical stimulator, which he used because of the back pain he experiences as a result of the first injury.

Illinois Workers’ Compensation
Do not give up if your workers’ compensation claim has been denied. Under Illinois workers’ compensation law, workers injured while on the job are entitled to work injury benefits from their employer. Unfortunately, your employer’s insurer can try to deny or delay benefits, which is why it is a good idea to get legal help.

Wyo. SC rules man's hernia a work-related injury, Legal Newsline, October 1, 2010

Read the Decision

Related Web Resources:

Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (PDF)

Workers' Compensation Benefits, Nolo

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