Yes. 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 too little compensation by accepting the insurer’s first offer.
What is a hernia?
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. 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 discin the back
- A herniated leg muscle that pushes through the fascia, creating an itchy or painful bulge on the leg
- An abdominal hernia, where part of the intestines push through the abdominal wall
Abdominal hernias are particularly common in car accidents.
How does a car accident cause an abdominal hernia?
Most people wear seat belts. This is a good thing—seat belts really do save lives, even though they can also cause injuries occasionally. One of those injuries occurs when the force of being restrained by the seat belt causes injury to the tissue underneath it. 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 serious 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 that has pushed through 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 extreme digestive issues. It needs to be treated immediately.
Will insurance cover my hernia?
In Georgia, if the hernia was caused by the car accident, then your accident claim should cover it. However, insurance companies will argue that it wasn’t caused by the accident at all—or that there’s another reason they don’t owe you money. 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 full 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 on their own. Always speak to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after getting medical care.
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