While it may not seem to make any sense, the Georgia Legislature has created a five part test in order to recover for hernia injuries. All prongs of this test must be met in order for a hernia to be deemed compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
According to O.C.G.A. 34-9-266, in order to recover benefits for a hernia the employee must prove:
1) that there was an injury resulting in hernia,
2) the hernia appeared suddenly,
3) the hernia was accompanied by pain,
4) the hernia immediately followed an accident, and
5) the hernia did not exist prior to the accident for which the hernia is claimed.
What all of this means essentially is that the employee has the burden of showing that the hernia occurred due to a specific work-related incident and brought immediate pain. There must also be a showing that no previous hernia existed. This standard is very difficult to overcome, so the employee must be sure to be in tune with his or her body’s signals. If, for example, a work activity causes some abdominal pain, regardless of the degree of pain, it is very important for the employee to report the pain to a supervisor right away so that it can be documented should a hernia later be diagnosed.