Car accidents can cause a hernia in many different areas of the body, and your car accident claim should cover the cost of these injuries. However, be careful. Hernia cases are complex, and insurance companies have experts to argue out of paying you.
Many hernia victims end up receiving insufficient compensation by accepting the insurer’s first offer. To get the maximum amount of compensation for your hernia, you’ll need to first learn how hernias and car accidents relate. Our lawyers explain what they are, how they occur, and your legal options.
What Is a Hernia?
A hernia is a general term that refers to any kind of organ that’s bulging through the tissue that contains it. Most of the body’s organs sit inside of one of several body cavities, each of which has strong walls to make sure everything stays in place.
However, if there is some kind of trauma that causes a “weak point” in the cavity wall, the organ may start to push through. Depending on where it happens, this can range from painful and irritating to life-threatening. Common examples of hernia include:
- A herniated disc in the back
- A herniated leg muscle pushes through the fascia, creating an itchy or painful bulge on the leg
- An abdominal hernia, where part of the intestines go through the abdominal wall
Abdominal hernias are particularly common in car accidents.
How Does a Car Accident Cause an Abdominal Hernia?
According to a 2016 study, seatbelt injury is one of the leading causes of abdominal hernia after a car accident. Many car accident victims will notice pain or bruising where the seatbelt crossed their body, but this is usually minor and temporary. In some cases, however, there is more severe damage underneath.
One serious example is when the seat belt across the abdomen causes damage to the abdominal wall itself. This is the wall that contains the abdominal cavity—including the large intestine. If there is a tear or weak spot in this wall, the intestines can start to push through.
This will often take time to develop, but it can often end up with a “loop” or intestine pushed through the wall and bulges out. On the outside, this manifests as a tender, painful lump. In addition to the pain of the hernia itself, it can also cause severe digestive issues. Therefore, it needs to get treated immediately.
Will Insurance Cover My Hernia?
In Georgia, if your car accident caused your hernia, then your accident claim should cover it. However, insurance companies will argue that your hernia has no relation to your accident at all and downplay your injuries and damages. For example:
- If it took time to develop, they’ll say it’s not related to the accident.
- If the pain wasn’t serious at first, so you didn’t seek treatment immediately, they’ll say you made it worse by not getting proper care.
- Or, they’ll rush to offer you an amount before you know the total cost of all your treatment so that you end up accepting too little.
As a result, many hernia victims will be underpaid and left with steep medical bills independently. You’ll want to get legal assistance after your car accident as soon as possible, especially if your injuries led to a hernia.
How Much Will a Settlement for My Hernia Be?
Settlements for car accidents that result in hernias can range anywhere from $15,000 or more. Remember, there’s no real way to determine how much you can win from your settlement without first consulting with a lawyer. Every car accident case is different, and you can’t assume that just because one case settled for only a few thousand dollars means yours will as well.
Do I Have a Lot of Time to File a Claim?
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 9-3-33 has a statute of limitations of two years for injuries to the person. In other words, you have just two years from the date of your car accident to file a claim. Even if you’ve sustained a severe injury like a hernia, there’s nothing you can do to recover a settlement if the two years pass.
Talk To a Car Accident Lawyer Today
You shouldn’t wait to get in touch with a lawyer if your car accident caused your hernia. Hernias aren’t cheap to treat and can cause permanent pain and suffering. An experienced car accident lawyer will help you fight and negotiate with the insurance companies so you can get a fair settlement for your damages.