To begin with, you should clearly understand what qualifies as a workplace injury in Jackson, according to Mississippi laws.
In legal terms– “a workplace injury is any harm or illness arising contributed or significantly aggravated by events or exposures in the work environment.”
In simple terms, a slip and fall accident on the floor of your office can be a workplace injury if the floor is wet and there is no warning sign. On the other hand, the same accident, if caused due to your loss of balance on your heels, doesn’t qualify as a workplace accident. So, what qualifies and what doesn’t? Take the help of a Jackson workers compensation lawyer to clear your doubts.
Are Workplace Injuries Common in Jackson?
According to the latest reports, incidents of fatal workplace injury are decreasing, whereas the overall frequency of workplace injury remains high in Mississippi. They are significant numbers of workplace injuries in Jackson. The most common types of accidents involve:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Muscle injuries due to overexertion
- Injuries caused to malfunctioning machines
- Burns due to explosions or electrical malfunction
- Degenerative diseases due to exposure to toxic chemicals
Immediate Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury in Jackson, MS
There is an initial check that you must do before moving on with the steps below. You must first identify whether your injury is a workplace injury or not.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Did you get injured during your work hours?
- Did the incident happen in your workplace?
- Did you get injured while carrying out your job-related task?
- Did you have any contribution to the accident?
Once you have clearly understood your situation and determined that it indeed is a workplace injury, take the following steps immediately:
Seek Medical Help
This is the first step that you must take if you get injured at your workplace. Do not rely on others (even your employer) to take care of it for you. This applies to major and minor injuries both. Do not assume that the injury will heal on its own and neglect it deliberately. Seek medical help from a doctor who can also provide you with necessary documents that state your medical condition and required recovery time.
Inform Your Employer
This is a necessary step that needs to be taken within a defined time frame: you must inform your employer within 30 days of your injury (i.e., the date of the accident). Once done, your employer is liable to take responsibility for your injuries. Your employer must contact their insurance company for employees and take care of your medical expenses.
Mississippi has a comprehensive set of laws on worker’s compensation in case of workplace injuries. You need to know your compensation rights and ensure that your employer is covering for you accordingly. In most cases, workers are eligible to recover their lost wages during healing.
According to Mississippi law, if your recovery period is more than 21 days (as stated by your doctor after investigation), you are eligible to gain compensation for lost wages. Seeking proper and rightful compensation from your employer is an important step that should not be delayed.
If steps 2 and 3 do not work out, you can take the following measures:
File for Compensation on Your Own
This is in case your employer is negligent and denies taking responsibility for your injury. You can file for your compensation on your own by filling in the first report of injury at the Worker’s Compensation Commission of Mississippi. The commission then employs a claims representative for your case and processes your plea such that you get your rightful compensation.
To ensure your plea is not rejected, it is important to be detailed about the incident. You must provide all the information regarding your job, your employer, and the incident to the commission. It is best to have some evidence to prove it was a workplace injury. If you have any colleagues who witnessed the incident or any relevant photographs or recordings from the site, it will strengthen your cause.
Seek Legal Advice
Generally, the commission provides a claims representative for your case. However, you are free to hire a legal attorney for yourself. This is highly recommended to prevent the dismissal of your plea by the commission. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the details of the legal process and increase your odds.
What Costs Can Be Recovered Due to a Workplace Injury in Jackson, MS?
In any way you receive your compensation: from your employer, commission, or through trial, you should be aware of the nature of compensations provided for workplace injuries in Jackson, MS.
All necessary medical expenses related to the injury are covered. In addition, the doctor’s fee is also covered. In certain cases, the doctor’s transportation mileage is covered during home visits. If you need to hire house help during your rehabilitation period, the costs are covered for it. Future medical expenses related to the injury may also be covered if further treatment is required.
Loss of Wages
Wages lost during your rehabilitation are compensated. There is a cap on the maximum amount of wages that can be recovered. Usually, this compensation is calculated based on your weekly/daily wage a week before your injury. This compensation is continued if recovery takes longer than 21 days (in case of temporary disability) and further (in case of permanent disability).
In Case of Death
In case of a fatal workplace injury, all the funeral costs are covered, in addition to a lump-sum compensation of $1,000 to the spouse. The Workers’ Compensation Law mandates compensatory payment to the surviving members of the immediate family for up to 450 weeks after the descendant’s death.
Things to Remember if You Suffer from a Workplace Injury
Here are some important laws you should be aware of if you suffer a workplace injury.
Your Employer Must have Insurance for Employees
According to Miss. Code Ann. § 71-3-85, every employer (with more than four employees) must have valid insurance for employees filed through e National Council on Compensation Insurance’s Proof of Coverage System. Thus, your employer’s insurance should cover your compensation in the first place.
Statute of Limitations by Mississippi State Law
Breach of this statute of limitations may invalidate your plea for compensation. It is very important to keep these timelines in mind-
- You must inform your employer about the injury within 30 days of the accident
- Your employer must inform their insurance vendor within 7 days of knowledge
- You must seek medical help within 2 years of the injury
With this informative guide, you are now set to deal with workplace injury incidents without giving up on your rightful compensation. If you feel stuck and unsure where to go, consult a personal injury lawyer in Jackson.