Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules that bilateral Hernias are two Separate Compensable Injuries Under Workers’ Compensation

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The Oklahoma Supreme Court voted unanimously that a worker who had two hernias at the same time (formally called bilateral inguinal hernias) was entitled to twice the amount of workers compensation.

Under the Workers Compensation statutes, a worker who is diagnosed with a hernia on one side is entitled to temporary total disability for six weeks.  However, the Supreme Court ruled that under the wording of the statute, the six weeks applies to each hernia.

In order to demonstrate the hernia was a compensable injury under Workers’ Compensation, the employee had to show that:

  1. The occurrence of the hernia followed as the result of sudden effort, severe strain, or the application of force directly to the abdominal wall;
  2. There was severe pain in the hernial region;
  3. The pain caused the employee’s work to be substantially affected;
  4. Notice of the occurrence was given to the employer within five (5) days thereafter; and
  5. The physical distress following the occurrence of the hernia was such as to require the attendance of a licensed physician.

Once the employee showed that his hernia was a compensable injury, he was entitled to receive double the compensation under the statute since his hernia was bilateral.

To read the Oklahoma Supreme’s Order in its entirety, click the case below:
Corbeil v. Emricks Van & Storage, 2017 OK 71


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