|Worker's Compensation FAQ's
|1. Am I eligible for Workers' compensation?
Workers' compensation is available to employees who are injured as a result of their employment. While it appears straightforward, the definition of 'employee' is subject to interpretation. Also, insurers often dispute that an injury was not a result of the one's employment. If you're not sure if you are an employee or are uncertain whether your injury resulted from your employment, talk to an experienced workers' compensation attorney, who can help you find out whether or not you're entitled to workers' compensation benefits for your injury.
2. What should I do if I am injured at work?
In the event of an injury, you should immediately notify your supervisor or other person designated by your employer. Prompt and accurate reporting is essential. Your employer is then required to make a report of the injury and notify its insurance company and/or the Workers' Compensation Commission. An injured employee should try to give the employer notice of the injury within 30 days. If no disability benefits are paid to the injured worker by the employer or carrier within two (2) years of the date of injury, then the right to any and all benefits is barred unless you file a claim with the Commission during this two (2) year period. This is what is known as the two (2) year statute of limitations.
3. When do benefits begin?
If you are an employee, you were covered and were eligible for benefits the moment you began your employment. There is no waiting period or minimum earnings requirement.
4. What injuries does workers' compensation cover?
Injuries resulting from the course of your employment are compensable. If you were injured at work, your injury is most likely covered, regardless of who was at fault. Workers' compensation also covers cumulative trauma resulting from repetitive activities (such as lifting or bending.) If you have developed carpel tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or similar injuries, then you are probably entitled to benefits.
5. Are benefits paid for all days missed from work?
Medical benefits are paid regardless of the number of days missed from work. If you suffered fewer than 14 days of disability (days you were unable to earn your regular wage
due to injury) as the result of a job related injury, wage loss payments are not made for the first 5 days. Payment will be made only for the number of days of disability in excess of 5. This is known as the 5 day waiting period. If you suffered 14 or more days of disability, then wage loss payments are made for the total period of your disability, including the first 5 days.
6. What monetary benefits are available if I become disabled?
Depending on the nature of your injury and disability, payments will be as much as two-thirds of the your average weekly wage. No worker is entitled to receive more than 450 times the maximum weekly amount established by the Legislature, regardless of the type of injury. In death cases, this limit applies to the total of payments to spouse and dependents. Effective for injuries or fatalities occurring on or after January 1, 2007, the maximum weekly benefit for disability or death is $387.68. The maximum overall limit is 450 times this amount, or $174,456.00. These figures represent the maximum amount which can be paid for an injury or death. Depending on one's average weekly wage, benefits may be less, since you are entitled to the lesser of 2/3 of your average weekly wage or the weekly maximum in effect at the time of your injury. Please consult the minimum/maximum benefits chart available at www.mwcc.state.ms.us for the maximum benefit rate for years other than 2007.
7. How long will the wage payments continue?
For a worker permanently and totally disabled, payments will be made for a maximum period of 450 weeks. For injuries which result in less than permanent and total disability, the time limit for payments varies according to the nature of the injury and disability. In cases of death, payments to dependents may not exceed 450 weeks.
8. What medical coverage am I entitled to if I am injured at work?
An injured worker is entitled to whatever reasonable and necessary medical services are required to treat the injury and achieve maximum cure. These include but are not limited to doctor and hospital services, nursing services, medication, physical therapy, crutches and any other apparatus or medical service which is necessary. Mileage expense reimbursement for trips to the doctor is also included; consult the Commission's internet site at www.mwcc.state.ms.us for current rates. Certain rehabilitation services may also be provided to assist the worker in his recovery and return to gainful employment.
More medical coverage facts:
You have the right to select one physician or medical provider of your choosing to receive treatment. Your chosen provider may make one referral to another specialist to continue treatment without any approval from your employer or its insurance carrier. However, any additional selections or referrals must be approved in advance by the employer or its insurance carrier. You are not limited to a licensed medical doctor and may choose, for example, a chiropractor for treatment.
9. Who pays for workers' compensation benefits?
All payments are made by the employer or its insurance company, not by the Workers' Compensation Commission. Medical payments should be made directly to the doctor or other medical provider by the employer or its insurance company. Wage loss payments should be made directly to the injured worker or the workers' legal representative. Once started, wage loss or disability payments to the worker should be made at least every 14 days until concluded.
10. Is it true that I cannot get workers' compensation if the injury was my fault?
No. Generally, it makes no difference who caused your work-place accident. Unless you acted extremely negligently when you were injured (such as being intoxicated, hurting yourself on purpose, or fighting for personal reasons,) you can collect weekly payments and are entitled to medical benefits for you injury.
For more information on Mississippi Workers' Compensation, click here
Grenfell & Stevens,
Attorneys at Law
1535 Lelia Drive
Jackson, MS 39216
PO Box 16570
Jackson, MS 39236-6570
Toll Free: 800.556.6770