Showing posts with label Hernia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hernia. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hernias - Figueroa vs. The Industrial Commission of Arizona

Figueroa vs. The Industrial Commission of Arizona
By Nicholas Wearne, Attorney

Arizona has a statue designated to hernias and the statute is misunderstood by many defense attorneys, applicant attorneys, as well as several judges.  The law separates hernias into two different types.  Class 1 hernias, and Class 2 hernias.  Class 2 hernias are only covered in certain circumstances and the most you can get by way of monthly benefits is 2 months of compensation for a Class 2 hernia.

Most defense attorneys will tell you all hernias are Class 2 unless the hernia is the result of a stabbing or puncture wound.  They will expect you to jump though all the hoops that come along with Class 2 hernias.  There is a Arizona case referenced above that explains how the law should actually be interpreted.  All hernias are to be considered Class 1 unless the defense attorney and carrier can prove that there was a birth defect or preexisting weakness in the abdomen.  Class 1 hernias do not have all the stipulations that Class 2 hernias have.  There are no limits on how long you can receive monthly payments and not hoops to jump though.

Hernias injuries are unfortunately almost always denied due to carrier’s and defense attorney’s misunderstanding of the law.  If you have experienced a hernia injury and your claim is being denied, contact our office for a free consultation.

For more information on Workers' Compensation or Social Security Disability, please contact Snow, Carpio & Weekley toll-free at 855-325-4781 or visit our website at We serve the entire State of Arizona and have offices located in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma and Lake Havasu City.

Friday, April 14, 2017


By Dennis R. Kurth, Associate Attorney
Workers' Compensation Specialist

Hernias, a very common type of industrial injury, are treated differently from all other injuries in the Arizona workers’ compensation law.  They are divided into two categories under the statute depending on whether they are purely traumatically-caused or whether a pre-existing abdominal wall weakness contributes to the hernia.  (A.R.S. §23-1043(1) and (2)). 

“Real traumatic” hernias or “class one” hernias, are those caused by a direct injury to the abdominal wall, whether by a strain from lifting, external force or otherwise, which allows the viscera to protrude and where there is no proof of a pre-existing weakness such as a prior hernia or congenital defect.

These hernias are treated like almost all other injuries and the claimant’s burden of proof is to establish only that the work activity contributed to the development of the hernia.  Temporary compensation benefits for real traumatic hernias are the same as for all other injuries with no monthly limit on indemnity benefits.

“Class two” hernias encompass all other hernias and are the result of a combination of a work-related strain and a pre-existing abdominal weakness.  Apparently, the drafters of this legislation felt that such hernias would be much more ubiquitous than real traumatic ones and because not solely the responsibility of industry, deserving of only limited compensation.

The drafters also added some additional requirements, beyond the normal burden of proof, to these type of hernias: (1) the immediate cause must be a “sudden effort or severe strain or blow”; (2) that the descent of the hernia immediately followed the cause; (3) that the cause was accompanied by severe pain; and, (4) that the pain was so severe that the claimant reported it immediately to one or more persons.  (A.R.S. §23-1043(2)(A-D)).

Fortunately for claimants, because the workers’ compensation law must be liberally construed, it is not necessary to establish every requirement to the letter and case law under the statute has softened the requirements considerably.  Immediate descent means anything from several minutes to several days.  Severe pain, a very subjective standard, can mean some pain or even no pain.  Immediate communication to one or more people means within a reasonable time.  All of these matters of proof are questions of fact for the ALJ.  The distinction between the two classes of hernia is a medical question to be addressed by the doctors.

If all of the statutory criteria for class two hernias are met and medical testimony establishes a causal relationship to the work activity or strain, compensation is payable for only two months, which is usually sufficient to cover the normal recovery time after surgery. The two month compensation limit, however, does not apply if the treatment/surgery leads to complications which delay recovery and/or necessitates further medical treatment.  An example of such complication could be an infected mesh which requires further surgery.

Workers’ compensation carriers tend to treat all hernias as class two hernias without regard to the details.  Usually a claimant will have to successfully litigate the issue to have a compensable class one hernia.  Such injured claimant should consult a worker compensation specialist to see if their injury can be classed as a real traumatic hernia rather than a class two hernia.

Monday, December 22, 2014


by Attorney Nick Wearne

Some work related injuries have special laws that govern whether they are compensable and how much benefit can be received.  One such law is Arizona Revised Statutes Section 23-143.  This section tells us what is required for a hernia to be covered under workers compensation.  A hernia is defined as a condition in which part of an abdominal organ protrudes through the abdominal muscles that are supposed to contain it.  Hernias are placed in two different categories according to the law: 1) Real Traumatic Hernias, and; 2) All other hernias.
A Real Traumatic hernia is an injury caused by a cut, puncture, or tear to the stomach or groin area that cuts through the skin and causes an exposure or protrusion of abdominal organs.  These types of hernia injuries can be life threatening and we do not see them very often.
Hernias more often occur when a person is lifting, twisting, or moving while handling something heavy.  There is no puncture of the skin but organs break through the abdominal wall causing a bulge beneath the skin.  These types of hernias, regardless of how they occur, are considered to have existed since birth or to have formed over many years and are not compensable under workers compensation, unless you can prove 4 things:

1)      The cause of the hernia was a sudden effort or severe strain related to your employment
One of the hardest things about hernia cases is that when our clients go to the doctor immediately after they will often tell the doctor about all the groin pain they have ever had in the past.  The doctor will usually make note of this in the medical record.  Even though such groin pain is almost always unrelated to the hernia and caused by sore muscles or gas, the insurance company uses the medical record to suggest that the hernia was of a gradual onset and not caused by a sudden event.  Such cases become much more difficult to win.

2)      The decent or popping out of the hernia occurs immediately
The hernia bulge has to have occurred at the same time or immediately after the sudden effort or strain.  The hernia bulge consists of organs protruding through your abdominal wall and occasionally can be pushed back into the abdomen or will go away when you lie down. Because they have pushed the bulge back in, sometimes clients will tell the doctor they have no hernia bulge or protrusion.  Before long these clients will strain and the hernia will protrude once again through their injured abdominal wall.  Such cases become more difficult to win because insurance companies suggest that the bulge did not occur till long after the original strain. 

3)      You experienced severe pain during the incident
a.       At the time of the strain or effort you must have experienced severe pain. When you go to the doctor following a hernia, it is not the time to try and prove you have a high pain tolerance.  Be truthful with your doctor regarding the pain you experienced at the time of the event.

4)      The pain and hernia bulge were of such severity that you reported them to your supervisor
a.       You must report you hernia to a supervisor immediately.  If you do not report it immediately your cases becomes difficult, if not impossible, to win.  Do not try and tough it out as this could be detrimental to both your health and your case.

If you have experienced a hernia at work, and feel you may be entitled to compensation, you need to hire an experienced workers compensation attorney to help you get the benefits you need. Contact our offices toll-free at 855-325-4781. You can also visit us online at to read more about our firm and attorneys.