For the prosecutors, Harry E. Young (William H. Campbell, Jr., of counsel).
For the respondent, David Roskein (John A. Laird, of counsel).
Before Justices Donges, Heher and Colie.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
COLIE, J. The prosecutor, Russell DeVries, was allowed a writ of certiorari to review a judgment of the Essex County Court of Common Pleas in a workmen's compensation matter.
Edward J. Black was employed by DeVries on July 17th, 1942. On that date he and another driver were unloading a truck in Nutley, New Jersey, and while lifting a case weighing between 200 and 300 pounds, he felt a sharp pain in his right side, slumped to the floor, was sick to his stomach and remained on the floor about five or ten minutes. Thereafter, he sat on his truck for about twenty minutes and then called his employer who advised him to go to a doctor but did not specify any particular doctor. Acting upon the advice of a fellow-employee, Black, instead of going to a licensed physician, went to Bloomfield to a store operated by a man called "Doc," who specialized in trusses. The proprietor of the store told him to wear a truss and at some later date, he did get
one. At the time of the hearing which was held on January 15th, 1943, Black was wearing a truss but he did not go to a doctor until about two weeks prior to the hearing which would be approximately six months after the accident of July 17th, 1942, upon which his claim for compensation for a hernia is based.
The deputy commissioner dismissed the petition on the ground that the petitioner failed to comply with the statutory requirements for a compensable hernia. On appeal the Court of Common Pleas reversed, holding that "the word required meant 'to have need of' and did not mean actually to have secured."
The problem before this court is to determine the sense in which the legislature used the word required in the applicable section of the statute.
The Workmen's Compensation Act as adopted in 1911 had no specific provisions relating to hernia. Legislation on the subject was first enacted by chapter 93, laws of 1919. With several minor amendments, in nowise affecting the sense it now appears as R.S. 34:15-12 (x) and reads:
"Inguinal hernia is a disease which ordinarily develops gradually, being very rarely the result of an accident. Where there is a real traumatic hernia resulting from the application of force directly to the abdominal wall, either puncturing or tearing the wall, compensation will be allowed. All other cases will be considered as either congenital or of slow development and not compensable, being a disease rather than an accidental injury; unless conclusive proof is offered that the hernia was immediately caused by such sudden effort or severe strain that, first, the descent of the hernia immediately followed the cause; second, that there was severe pain in the hernial region; third, that there was such prostration that the employee was compelled to cease work immediately; fourth, that the above facts were of such severity that the same was noticed by the claimant and communicated to the employer within ...