Workers’ compensation is designed to protect both employees and employers in case of injuries on the job. An injured worker has the reassurance that he or she will receive money needed to pay for medical care and replace at least some lost income due to an inability to work and earn as before. An employer, on the other hand, does not have to fear crippling legal costs through litigation after a workplace injury such as:
A burn injury caused by an explosion or chemical exposure
A back, neck or shoulder injury
The injured person does not have to prove that an employer was negligent to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, an evaluation of the circumstances of an injury may indicate that a third party (not the employer) was negligent. In that case, the injured worker may also file a third-party liability claim as a personal injury claim. If you have suffered injuries, call our experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at (228) 872-8752.
How Our Experienced Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help You
At Haug, Farrar, & Franco, PLLC, we have one purpose in mind: to ensure that we provide the best legal representation to individuals and families that are facing legal challenges. All of our attorneys have the dedication, experience, and compassion to assist you with your workers’ compensation claim. Whether you’re in Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, or anywhere else nearby, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can always help.
When we handle your case, we will make sure we take care of it from start to finish. This includes investigating, speaking with witnesses, obtaining medical records, filing the claim for you, handling an appeal if it ever gets to that point, and anything else we need to do to help prepare for your case. All of our attorneys are well-versed in negotiating and litigating cases, so you never have to worry about having a settlement pushed on you just to get a quick resolution in the case. We want what’s best for you and your family, not what’s best for our own bottom line. We are always happy to provide a free initial consultation where we can discuss your case and determine the best approach to help you. We also can meet with you in the hospital or your house if you’re not yet healthy enough to be able to meet with us in the office. Contact us anytime for a free consultation.
How Does Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim Work in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, you no longer have to file a personal injury lawsuit and prove your employer was negligent in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits. Instead, you simply must be eligible for the benefits. You must be an employee (not an independent contractor), work for a company that actually carries workers’ compensation insurance, which is a requirement for all employers who have at least five people working for them, your injuries must be the result of an accident that occurred at work, and you must notify your employer about your injuries within 30 days of the incident that caused your injuries at work.
What to do After You’ve Been Injured at Work?
If you’ve been injured at work, it may not be your first thought to file a workers’ compensation claim. You’re most likely worried about getting medical treatment and determining how you’re going to make money to feed your family and get through the day. However, there are certain steps that you should consider taking right away if you’ve been injured at work, including the following:
Report the Accident to the Appropriate Agency
One of the first and most important steps you should take after an injury in the workplace is to report it to your employer in accordance with state and employer policy. In Mississippi, if you are injured and will be out of work for more than five days or your injury might result in death, permanent disability, or serious disfigurement, you should report this injury to the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission right away. The report must be made within 10 days, but the sooner the better. You must also report the incident to your employer as soon as possible, as they’re supposed to keep a record of what happened.
File a Workers’ Compensation-First Report of Injury or Illness
Once you report the injury to the Commission and your employer, the next step is going to be to file a workers’ compensation-first report of injury or illness form with the Commission. This should be done within ten days of when you told your employer about the incident. The form can be filed by you or your employer. If your employer fails to file the form within 10 days of them receiving notice, they can be penalized by the Commission.
Once you’re healthy enough to process what happened, it’s important to take notes about what caused your injuries as well as everything your employer does and says to you. In the event that your employer tries to make it difficult for you to collect workers’ compensation, having notes from right after the incident occurred could end up being very beneficial, that way you don’t forget anything important.
Seek Medical Attention and Obtain Documentation
Finally, make sure you seek medical attention and obtain any documentation related to that medical treatment. If you didn’t suffer any serious injuries, or any injuries at all, it’s going to be impossible for you to succeed on a workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, it’s crucial that you follow up on all of the doctor’s recommended treatments and any care they suggest.
Contact a Lawyer
Of course, the last crucial step is to contact a Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyer right away. they can help you navigate this from start to finish and make sure you’re seeing the right doctors, taking the right notes, and just simply handling the situation in a way that is going to be most advantageous for you.
Who is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
In Mississippi, almost all employees are covered by workers’ compensation laws, though there are a few exceptions. The primary exceptions are that workers’ compensation laws in Mississippi don’t cover farm workers, domestic workers, or workers involved in non-profit organizations.
For all other covered businesses, workers’ compensation provides compensation for any injury or illness that occurs within the course and scope of employment. This includes traumatic injuries, such as a broken bone from a one-time injury, as well as occupational illnesses, such as an illness that occurs over a longer period of time, such as an injured elbow from repetitive movements that cause serious injury. Additionally, employees who are injured or become ill due to toxic exposure at work should be covered as well.
What Benefits am I Entitled To?
Being injured at work is scary, and it can be even scarier to not know what you’re entitled to and what kind of benefits you might receive. We can help you with this. When you’re injured at work and successfully file a workers’ compensation claim in Mississippi, all of your medical treatment related to the work injury should be covered. This includes doctor’s visits, medical expenses, prescription medications, prosthetic devices if necessary, and more. You may also even be reimbursed for mileage spent traveling to and from appointments.
Temporary Disability Benefits
If you are required to take time off from work, you can also receive temporary disability benefits. This is usually equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wage (up to a maximum amount that is set by state law). Your attorney should help ensure that you receive these benefits until you are able to return to work or until your doctor decides that your injuries have improved to the extent that they are going to (otherwise referred to as your maximum medical improvement). If you don’t improve to this point and you still can’t return to work, your temporary benefits are typically shut off after 450 weeks.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Once you get to the point where you’ve improved as much as you’re going to, your doctor will evaluate you and determine if you have a permanent disability or not. If you do, you can then receive permanent total disability benefits. These benefits are typically only available for people who have suffered severe injuries, such as loss of limbs and eyes. You are paid at the same rate as you are with temporary benefits up to a maximum of 450 weeks.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If your doctor determines that you have a permanent disability but you are not totally disabled, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. If this is the case, you will receive two-thirds of your average weekly salary. What type of injury and disability you have will determine how long you receive these benefits for, but it can be anywhere from 100 to 200 weeks.
When Obstacles Come Up In The Workers’ Comp Claim Process
Workers’ compensation cases sometimes become complex and involve controversies such as:
Whether an injury was actually work-related
Which doctors the injured person should be allowed to see
When he or she is ready to go back to work
How much he or she should receive to compensate for a:
Permanent partial disability
Permanent total disability
Legal Remedies For Problematic Cases
Our Mississippi workers’ compensation attorneys help client obtain maximum benefits and other compensation for as long as possible through a variety of legal maneuvers such as:
Third-party liability claims
If Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC, represents you after an on-the-job injury, we will help you pursue the path most likely to lead to maximum benefits for you. Our pay will be a percentage of a settlement or back benefits, so you will not have to worry about how many hours we spend developing an effective case on your behalf.
If Your Case Becomes Difficult To Resolve
Workers’ compensation cases sometimes take several years to reach a conclusion. If we believe your case has merit, we will encourage you to take it as far as it needs to go, perhaps to the: