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Laborer Fails to Connect Ballooning Testicle, Hernia to Work Duties

27 Jun, 2023 Chris Parker

testicles gd516fd341 640
                               

Benwood, WV (WorkersCompensation.com) – When there’s reason to suspect a worker’s injury report is more akin to a work of fiction, it helps to have witnesses’ statements that were created on the day of or shortly after the injury.

That’s especially the case, when, as in M.G. v. Strike, L.L.C., No. 21-0745 (W.Va. 06/13/22), the medical evidence arguably could go either way.

The laborer in that case claimed that on May 7, 2018, as he was walking up a high, muddy hill while working, he slipped, causing him to sustain a swollen testicle and hernia. He said that when it happened, he told two co-workers about it.

On May 8, he went to the doctor, complaining of a swollen testicle. The doctor diagnosed him with testicular pain and a genital disorder but concluded that there was no hernia. On May 16, another doctor diagnosed him with a hernia. He told the doctor that he had been experiencing pain for weeks.
On July 20, the laborer filed a claim for benefits, stating that two of his coworkers witnessed the injury.

The physician's section diagnosed inguinal hernia and stated that it was undetermined if the condition was the result of a work-related injury.

Workers' Comp 101: Another case where a testicle injury figured into a workers' compensation claim was Lively v. State Compensation Commissioner, 167 S.E. 583 (W.Va. 1933). In that case, a worker slipped on a wet concrete floor, and in so doing, struck his right testicle against a brace of some sort. The commissioner, in rejecting the workers' claim, took the position that medical authorities were of the opinion that orchitis, which is inflammation of the testis, was not of traumatic origin, but usually due to gonorrhea, syphilis, or tuberculosis. The state's top court disagreed. "The only place that the word 'orchitis' appears in the record is on [the] Physician's Preliminary Report," the court wrote. "As already noted, the physician gave a practical interpretation as to what was meant by the use of the word, when he testified that the condition of the testicle was the result of trauma."

The laborer’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits was rejected, so he took the claim to court, along with a story that proved quite different from the one told by the two coworkers.

The court noted that an injury is not compensable unless it is causally connected to a worker’s job activities. The court, in affirming the worker’s compensation appeals board, pointed to the following:

Medical Evidence

The worker’s initial diagnosis shortly after the accident was “genital organ disorder.” It was not until nine days later that he was diagnosed with a hernia.
No physician opined that the hernia and was work-related, and there was no other medical evidence linking the condition to his work duties.

Witnesses’ Statements

While the laborer said he told his coworkers about the injury immediately after it occurred, his coworkers asserted that he stated the issue began a day or two prior and was not work-related.

One of his coworkers, in a May 8 witness statement, asserted that the laborer approached him around 10 a.m. that day and stated that he was unable to work due to left testicle swelling. The coworker said he asked the laborer if the injury occurred that morning or the day before, and the laborer said no. The laborer told him that he woke up with irritation a few days prior and his left testicle began to swell over time.

A second coworker completed a witness statement on May 8 indicating that he overheard the conversation between the laborer and the first coworker, and said the laborer stated that he was not injured at work.

Because there was no evidence that the injury was work-related, the laborer failed to establish that it was compensable under the workers' compensation act.


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