In the year 1948, the Legislature implemented a “workers compensation law” in the interests of employees to provide them with a provision that enables them to recover medical costs or lost wages in case of an occupational injury, commonly known as a workplace injury.
By 1949, every state in the US had enacted this law. However, this rule has different thresholds across different states in the US, which means that the specificities of this law differ depending on your work location. Overall this law mandates the following-
- All employers of businesses having more than four employees need to have a workers’ compensation insurance plan in place.
- All employers must cover payments for medical treatments for employees who suffer from workplace injuries or illnesses due to the workplace environment.
- All employers must provide indemnity, the partial replacement of lost wages of an injured or ill worker suffering from the workplace injury.
- All employers must provide financial compensation to workers who develop a physical disability, which may affect their future working capability due to workplace injuries.
- All employers must provide coverage of funeral costs in case of the death of a worker due to workplace injuries.
It is important to note that this is a “no-fault” law, meaning that the employee does not need to legally prove that the employer was at fault for their workplace injury. In any case, the employee rightfully deserves the financial compensation without proving fault. Workers compensation lawyers Jackson can help you better handle the situation.
Who Can Benefit from Workers Compensation in Jackson, MS?
In Mississippi, most workers are covered under this workers’ compensation law. However, there are a few exceptions that you need to be aware of:
- Employees working in non-profit organizations related to fraternities, charities, or religious organizations are not covered by this law. However, they can claim compensation if their employee voluntarily provides the same.
- Employees working as laborers in the domestic and farm industry.
- Independent contractors, such as independent real estate agents, are not covered via this compensation.
- Federal employees are not covered by this compensation law but by the federal compensation laws.
- Certain transportation and maritime employees are also not covered under this law.
- Finally, if you are employed in an enterprise with less than 5 employees, your employer is legally not bound to provide workers compensation. However, your employer may voluntarily opt for purchasing worker’s insurance.
When Do You Need Workers’ Compensation?
Workplace injuries are more common than one can reckon. In 2020, there were 2.7 million workplace injuries reported by employers, with a fatality rate of 3.4 among 100,000 workers. Although this rate is low, it is not insignificant. In the US, 90% of all workplace injuries result from overexertion at work, followed by falls, trips, and slips. You can claim workers’ compensation if you find yourself in any of the following situations-
- If you find yourself suffering from any injury, no matter the magnitude of the injury,
- If you face an accident in your workplace or while conducting tasks related to your work within the working hours.
- If you develop any physical impairment or disability that hinders your working capability in the future.
- If you notice deterioration in your health and development of long-term diseases due to unhygienic or hazardous working conditions.
How to File for Workers Compensation?
In case you are in a situation that demands compensation based on the abovementioned legal definitions, you can take the following steps-
- The first and foremost step to take is to inform your employer. You must report your condition within 30 days of the infliction of the injury to your employer, and this is mandated by the “statute of limitations” of the workers’ compensation law in Mississippi. This statute of limitations implies that any report that breaches this limitation will not be considered.
- If your employer is responsive, they need to inform their insurance company within 7 days of becoming aware of the situation. This time limit is also legally indicated and should be followed without fail.
- If your employer is unresponsive or unwilling to file for compensation with their insurance company, you can go overhead and file for your compensation individually. This should be done at the Workers Compensation Commission of Mississippi. The same time limit of 30 days applies for individual applications as well.
- If you are not visibly injured but feel unwell, it is recommended to seek medical advice and get all the prescribed tests done. In case the tests reveal that your health is deteriorating due to exposure to harmful substances such as asbestos, lead etc., at your workplace, you can file for compensation individually within 2 years of the medical diagnosis. If your employer is responsive to the situation, the same statute of limitation of 30 days applies to the filing.
How is the Compensation Amount Calculated?
Under the workers compensation law, there are two major compensation types, i.e. the medical expenses and the loss of wages, which are differently calculated depending on multiple variables. However, the overall considerations for calculating the compensation amount are as follows-
- Medical compensation
Medical compensation covers all the treatments for the injury and the doctor’s fees. In some cases, rehabilitation fees are also covered. Medical compensation is provided irrespective of the days of work missed after the injury.
- Recovery of loss of wages
If the injury deters the worker from returning to work for less than 14 days, wage loss for the first five days is not recovered. This is known as the “5-day waiting period”. However, if the recovery period is longer than 14 days, the wages are covered for the total period of recovery. During this period, the wages to be paid are generally two-thirds of the workers’ average weekly wage prior to the injury, with a maximum benefit cap of $449.12 per week. The details of this rate of compensation are available here.
Which is the Governing Body for Worker’s Compensation in Jackson, MS?
If you are a worker based in Jackson, MS, the Workers Compensation Commission of Mississippi overlooks all the decisions made with regard to workers’ compensation laws in every area of the state. You can avail their official website for the following issues and procedures involved in your workers’ compensation-
- Filing for your compensation through the “First Report of Injury”
- You can enquire about and verify your coverage requirements
- Medical fee schedule which details the fee structure and coverage for medical bills and is categorized based on coverage rates of each year, which often keep changing
- To compute your lump sum compensation that you can claim based on your situation.
- To electrically transmit all your documents to the jurisdiction through the ATOS portal.
Things to Consider While Filing for a Workers Compensation.
Even though the workers’ compensation law is a “no-fault” law, it is a punishable offense to make false claims to avail the insurance. Additionally, the benefits will not be provided if the worker is under drug or alcohol influence during the accident.
Thus, it all depends upon your understanding of the law and how you use your skills to serve the purpose. Contact Jackson personal injury attorney to make the best achievable claim smoothly.