One of the most common things most workers have is an incomplete understanding of their rights and obligations under the Mississippi workers compensation system. For this reason, an experienced Jackson workers comp lawyer at our law firm will explain how the system works and who is covered in detail.
Read on to learn the basics of workers comp in our state.
1. Employers’ Obligation to Carry Workers Comp Coverage
Many injured workers do not even talk to a lawyer about their rights because their employer said that the company does not have to carry coverage, so there are no available benefits for them.
If this is true, the employer is likely breaking the law. Mississippi law obliges any employer with at least 5 (five) regular employees to carry workers’ compensation coverage for them. This obligation applies even if the employees work on a part-time basis.
2. Who Is Not Covered by Workers Compensation?
While most workers can seek benefits after a job-related accident, there are some categories excluded from the workers comp system in Mississippi. These are:
- Domestic employees
- Farm laborers
- Employees of non-profit, charitable, or religious organizations
- Federal employees
- Certain maritime or transportation employees covered by other federal workers comp laws
- Independent contractors.
For a Jackson workers comp attorney, one of the key questions during the free case review is: are you a W-2 employee or an independent contractor? The fact is that many workers are misclassified and tricked into signing independent contractor agreements instead of employment agreements.
In some cases, a skilled lawyer can prove that the worker is actually an employee and has the right to file a claim.
3. Rules for Defining a Compensable Accident
The workers compensation system is not fault-based. You could be 100% at fault for the accident, and you still have the right to file a workers comp claim. However, the accident must meet all of the following conditions:
- It happened while you were on the clock (lunch breaks and driving to and from work are excluded, for example)
- It must have occurred while you were performing an activity within your scope of employment (not while volunteering to help another worker, employed on a different position)
- You must have not been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
4. Occupational Diseases and Conditions Covered by Workers Comp
Workers compensation in Mississippi also covers health conditions and diseases that result directly from the job. The most common example is mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
Repetitive stress injuries, caused by performing the same movements over a long period of time, are also compensable.
However, most mental health conditions are excluded from workers comp coverage. The only condition when a worker qualifies for benefits is if their mental health condition was triggered by a physical injury at the workplace.
5. Available Benefits
Finally, it is important to understand what types of benefits you may seek in a workers comp claim. This system covers the following:
- Medical care costs
- Replacement wages representing 2/3 of the average weekly wage
- Disability benefits for temporary or permanent disability
- Death benefits payable to the family of a worker who dies as a result of a workplace accident.
A Skilled Jackson Workers Comp Attorney Will Help You Understand Your Rights!
Even if you are not sure if you have the right to file a claim, you should still talk to an experienced Jackson workers comp lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. We will examine your employment conditions and the circumstances of your incident and tell you if you have a valid case. If it is so, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis – we get paid only after we settle your claim.
As a new client, you benefit from a free case review, so call us today at 601-519-4181!