In Mississippi, employers with five or more employees must carry worker’s compensation insurance mandatorily.
Like many other states, Mississippi is a no-fault state. This means the employer must compensate the employees for the injuries (sustained on the job) irrespective of who was at fault in the accident. The compensation includes medical bills, lost wages, death, permanent impairment, and more.
However, there are certain conditions under which these benefits come into play. Your workers’ compensation lawyer in Mississippi will help you understand the laws better. But let’s have a quick look at some of them.
Which employees are eligible for Mississippi worker’s compensation benefits?
Mostly all employees except these are covered under Mississippi worker’s compensation:
- Farm workers
- Domestic workers
- Employees who work for non-profit organizations, religious and cultural organization
- Certain federal employees, transportation and maritime employees are covered under federal compensation laws
- Independent contractors
All other employees are covered under worker’s compensation benefits from the very first day of their employment. Employers in Mississippi also have the choice to self-insure themselves subject to certain rules and regulations.
What does Mississippi worker’s compensation cover?
Any injury, slight or serious, is covered under worker’s compensation if it arises during the scope of employment. Occupational diseases are also covered, along with work-related deaths.
Such injuries may include one-time injuries like fractures from slip and fall, carpel tunnel syndrome through repeated work movements, or illnesses developed from inhaling toxic substances like asbestos.
What should the worker do when injured at work in Mississippi?
After being injured at work, the first step is to inform your supervisor (or any suitable person designated by the employer). The injury report should be given as soon as possible, within 30 days, or at best, within 48 hours.
The employer then prepares the report for your injury and notifies the insurance company or worker’s compensation commission.
If the employee does not report the injuries within two years from the date of injury, the right to seek compensation from the employer or carrier is lost.
Can you seek treatment from a doctor of your own choice in Mississippi worker’s compensation?
Yes, in Mississippi, injured workers can get treatment from the doctor of their own choice. However, you can only seek one specialist without approval from the insurance company. Any change of doctor or referral will thereafter need the approval of the insurance company.
What benefits are available as part of Mississippi worker’s compensation?
Depending on the severity of the injuries, workers are entitled to receive all costs of hospital bills, prescriptions, prosthetic device expenses, and even mileage reimbursement expenses as part of the benefits.
There are mainly two types of benefits offered:
- Medical benefits: All the medical benefits are subject to the minimum and maximum amount of benefit available. This amount is calculated based on the worker’s pay scale and average weekly wage. For instance, the current rates are effective from July 1, 2022. The mileage rates are capped at $625. This amount changes every year or every six months.
- Wage loss benefits: The minimum wage loss benefits are $25, while the maximum weekly benefit is capped at $551.02. If the worker is diagnosed with a lifetime disability, the maximum lifetime disability benefit cannot exceed $247,959.
The wage loss benefits are received based on the type of disability a worker is diagnosed with. These can be:
- Temporary disability benefit
An injury is termed a temporary disability when the injured worker is likely to return to work after a certain day off. For the time being, he will be entitled to receive 2/3rd of the average weekly wage as wage loss.
This benefit will continue until you return to work or until the doctor gives a Maximum Medical Improvement remark. If neither has happened, the benefits will continue for 450 weeks maximum.
- Permanent disability benefit
If your injuries are healed but have left you with a permanent disability after being remarked with MMI, the worker will be entitled to receive a permanent disability benefit.
These benefits are available for most serious injuries like loss of two body parts (arms, hands, legs, feet, or eyes). These benefits are also paid for a maximum of 450 weeks of a similar amount as Temporary disability benefits.
- Permanent partial disability benefit
This is when lifetime disability benefits come into place. However, these benefits are not offered unless you have suffered from the injury for at least one year.
The benefits also vary depending on the severity of the injury. If the worker has a 50% loss of use of one or both limbs, the benefit lasts for 100 weeks, while in case of a 100% loss, the events will last for 200 weeks, subject to maximum limits.
In case of any queries or yours is a special case, it will be best to consult a worker’s compensation attorney in Mississippi. Such an attorney understands the ins and outs of laws well and explains them clearly.
What if my worker’s comp claim is denied in Mississippi?
If the insurance company denies your claim, the injured worker must first seek the help of the Claims Representative of the Mississippi worker’s compensation commission. The hearing will be conducted by the Commission before a worker’s comp judge. The judge will issue a written decision after the court hearing.
If you are unsatisfied with the decision, you can appeal the decision by taking the help of a worker’s compensation attorney. Talk with an expert Mississippi workers’ compensation attorney today to learn more.