What Do You Think: Did Laborer’s Testicle Swelling, Pain Stem from Fall at Work?

08 Nov, 2023 Frank Ferreri

                               

Charleston, WV (WorkersCompensation.com) -- Inconsistencies in an employee's story about how they hurt themselves can spell the end of a workers' compensation claim.

As a recent West Virginia case shows, just because a worker fell on the job and also had problems with his testicles doesn't always mean that the two are connected.

A laborer alleged that he sustained an inguinal hernia while climbing a high muddy hill at work, which two coworkers witnessed. The physician's section of his claim diagnosed inguinal hernia but stated that it was undetermined if the condition was the result of a work-related injury.

To bolster his claim, the laborer submitted a medical examination report from two weeks prior to the alleged injury that indicated that he had no genito-urinary abnormalities.

After the incident in question, the laborer presented to MedExpress with a swollen right testicle and testicle pain. There, he was diagnosed with "other specified disorders of the make genital organs."

In informing his employer that he was unable to work due to testicle swelling, the laborer alleged indicated that he had woken up with "irritation" a few days prior to the alleged accident and that his testicle began to swell over time.

Over the next week, the laborer continued to experience testicular pain and swelling and reported an inability to completely empty his bladder and decreased urine flow. Eventually, a doctor diagnosed him with epididymo-orchitis, inguinal hernia, an enlarged prostate, overactive bladder, and other neuromuscular bladder dysfunction.

Despite having ongoing testicular swelling, the laborer's claim was rejected, and the Office of Judges affirmed the administrator's rejection of the claim.

The laborer appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Under West Virginia law, the court may reverse or modify the Office of Judge's decision only if it is in clear violation of constitutional or statutory provisions, is clearly the result of erroneous conclusions of law, or is based upon a material misstatement or mischaracterization of the evidentiary record.

Did the laborer establish that his testicular maladies were work-related?
A. Yes. Two people saw the laborer slip and fall on the steep, muddy hill, and the laborer noticed severe right testicle swelling the next day.
B. No. Inguinal hernia was not diagnosed until nine days after the alleged injury, despite the fact that laborer was examined by two physicians prior to the eventual diagnosis the labor received.

If you chose B, you agreed with the court in M.G. v. Strike, No. 21-0745 (W. Va. 06/13/23, unpublished), which agreed with the Office of Judge's conclusion that there was no evidence that the laborer's testicle issues were the result of his employment.

In particular, the court highlighted that:

+ On the morning of the alleged injury, the laborer approached a supervisor and stated that he was unable to work due to swelling in his testicle. When the supervisor asked the laborer if he was injured at work, the laborer said no. 
+ No physician of record opined that the laborer's was the result of a work injury.
+ Coworkers contradicted the laborer's assertion of a work-related injury in that while the laborer testified that he informed his coworkers of his injury immediately after it occurred, the coworkers asserted that he stated that the issue began a day or two prior and was not work-related.

 


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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