Jackson, MS Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019 had 2.8 million reported nonfatal injuries and illnesses from the private industry. These mainly constituted injuries from falls, slips, trips, overexertion, motor vehicle accidents, diseases from exposure to harmful substances, etc. Mississippi accounts for a number of these statistics, with previous research revealing workplace accident prevalence of 0.06% among the state’s working population.
Mississippi State Workers' Compensation Act
Essentially, workplace injuries are a common occurrence both locally and nationally. Owing to the disruptive nature of accidents, the Mississippi workers’ compensation law came into effect to cushion employees and their families from the related financial setbacks. These include medical expenses and related doctor visit costs, plus wage loss due to absence from office.
Any employer with five employees and above is legally mandated to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This applies to most industries except non-profit, religious, and charitable organizations; farm labor and domestic jobs, plus federal employees. However, coverage is available for employers even with less than five employees, but it’s not a legal requirement.
Usually, there’s no waiting period to qualify for the benefits. All injured workers are eligible for coverage, despite when they commenced working with the employer.
What Should I Do If I Got Hurt on the Job in Jackson?
As long as your employer offers compensation for injured workers, you’re entitled to the benefit. But prompt reporting is essential to guarantee payment. Below are the steps you should follow.
- Notify your supervisor/employer about the injury/illness
- Seek medical treatment
- Hire an attorney to help you
- Ascertain your employer has filed the claim
- File the claim if your employer has declined
- The insurance company verifies the claim and pays damages
Generally, you need not sue your employer following a work-related injury, as the benefit should cater to your medical bills and wage loss. However, it’s essential to engage a workers’ compensation attorney to protect your interests and advise you accordingly if your rights are infringed.
Under no circumstances should you ignore an injury, however minor. For example, some injuries may incubate for days only to turn into a significant problem over time. Also, ensure you provide accurate information. Giving misleading information or exaggerated reports is considered a felony, which attracts a penalty of up to $5000 and 3-year jail time.
Common Work Accidents in Jackson, MS
Workplace accidents vary depending on the circumstances and the job involved. However, past reports have indicated overexertion, falls, slips, and contact with equipment as the leading accidents, accounting for more than 80% of workplace-related injuries.
Overall, Jackson’s common accidents are as follows:
Overexertion – Overexertion usually causes injuries in a single incident or over a period of time. People sustaining injuries from overexertion are especially those involved in lifting, pulling, or carrying activities. For instance, lifting heavy weights without the proper equipment can lead to muscle and tendon injury or joint dislocation in extreme cases. While the impact may vary based on the extent of the damage, the resulting hospitalization and recovery time can be costly.
Slip and falls – Slip and falls are another common workplace accident. Faulty elevators, slippery floors, uneven surfaces, congested and poorly-lit walkways are some hazards that predispose workers to injuries from falls and trips. Whether you hurt your knee or back, sprain your ankle, or sustain soft tissue injury, workers’ compensation programs should cater to the medical expenses and any wage loss.
Contact with objects/equipment – Falling objects or moving equipment are responsible for a huge chunk of workplace accidents. Whether you sustain minor bruises, deep cuts, or severe fractures, the Mississippi workers’ compensation system provides for compensation.
Motor vehicle accidents – Any motor vehicle accidents, either at the premises or while out on the road, on business duties, are covered under the workers’ compensation insurance. For instance, a worker injured by a tractor on a construction site is eligible for this benefit.
Fire and explosions – Though not as prevalent as the first three accidents, fire and explosions constitute a part of the reported workplace accidents in Jackson. Faulty gas lines, mishandling of combustible materials, etc., predispose workers to fire hazards. Fire accidents are usually life-threatening, especially when workers are caught up in the explosions or entrapped inside buildings. But despite the extent of the damage, workers’ compensation programs provide the coverage.
Note that this list is by no means exhaustive. There are loads of other work-related accidents covered under the Mississippi law. If you have suffered an accident that we didn’t mention above, check your employment contract or consult your attorney for guidance.
Types of Work Injuries That Are Covered By Mississippi Workers' Compensation System
The Mississippi statute for injured workers covers several types of injuries. These range from back and neck injuries to knee, joint, and soft tissue injuries. Illnesses caused or aggravated by the work environment such as asthma are also eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Below is a rundown of the qualifying injuries and illnesses.
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruises and contusions
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hand injuries
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Rotator curve tears
- Sprains and strains
- Torn ligaments
While this list of qualifying injuries is not exhaustive, note that self-inflicted injuries or those sustained while traveling to and from office may not be covered. Also, unlike personal injury lawsuits, workers’ compensation does not cover pain and suffering and the resulting psychological distress. To confirm you receive all benefits to which you are legally entitled for your Mississippi workers’ compensation claim, contact an experienced lawyer.
What Kinds of Workers' Compensation Benefits Can I Receive?
Generally, Mississippi state laws on workers’ compensation provide for medical and wage loss benefits. Medical benefits cater to all the medical treatment costs incurred until complete recovery or maximum medical improvement. These may include expenses for doctor and nursing services, medication and any assistive devices acquired, physical therapy, and all doctor visit-associated costs.
On the other hand, wage loss benefits compensate the victim for the days they may have missed work while undergoing treatment and recovery.
How Much Can I Receive in Workers' Compensation Benefits?
Usually, the benefit is calculated as two-thirds of your weekly wage. Initially, while undergoing treatment, you receive a temporary disability benefit. Once you’re fully recovered, the doctor will examine you and give a report. If it happens that you have sustained a disability, then you’ll be entitled to permanent disability benefit.
There are two permanent disability benefits – permanent partial disability and permanent total disability. You’re eligible for the former if you’re able to return to work. However, if the injury incapacitates you in a way you cannot work again, then you’ll receive the latter for up to 450 weeks. All the benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the average remuneration rate, with the maximum weekly benefit capped at $523.16 for claims arising after January 1, 2021.
In a worst-case scenario where the victim succumbs to the accident, death benefits are paid to the family, plus funeral expenses of up to $5,000.00. Note that the maximum death benefit cannot exceed $235,422.00, i.e., $523.16 multiplied by 450 weeks.
How Long Do I Have To Report a Work Injury in MS?
Mississippi State laws on workers’ compensation require you to report a work-related injury within 30 days. Then there’s a two-year statute of limitations. Once the two-year deadline lapses and no claim has been filed yet, you are no longer eligible for the benefits. However, you can file the claim, by yourself, within these two years. If your claim is not properly filed within the statute of limitations, you will be barred from recovering compensation.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me to Seek Compensation From My Employer?
As much as you’re entitled to a workers’ compensation benefit, the payment is not automatic. Insurance companies will try to look for loopholes to fight the claim or minimize their losses. Hence, it’s vital to have a workers’ compensation lawyer representing you to increase your chances of winning the case.
Like in other compensation cases, evidence is essential. Providing scanty information can backfire on you, however valid the injuries are. Among other things, the lawyer will develop evidence (medical, vocational, etc.), negotiate a reasonable settlement, and represent you at the hearing. In addition, if the job injury involved a third party other than your employer, the attorney could help you file a personal injury claim to the court and represent you at the trial.
How Much Do Jackson Workers' Compensation Attorneys Cost?
Jackson, Mississippi workers’ compensation attorneys receive contingency fees. This means you don’t pay them a dime unless they win the case. There’s no standard contingency fee, but the maximum is 25% of the compensation amount pursuant to state law.
How Is a Workers' Compensation Claim Filed in Mississippi?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Mississippi usually includes the following steps.
- Notifying your supervisor/employer about the injury and completing all the necessary documents
- Visiting a doctor for treatment and providing complete details of your injury
- Your employer files a claim and completes all the paperwork
- The insurance reviews the claim and pays benefits pursuant to the law
How NST Law Can Help
At NST Law, we are a team of experienced lawyers, all about assisting you to get full payment to cover your medical bills plus lost wages. We have helped many victims of work-related injuries not only secure workers’ compensation benefits but pursue personal injury compensation. For instance, our firm had a client (a billboard poster) who fell from an improperly welded billboard catwalk, thereby sustaining serious injuries. After pursuing the case for workers’ compensation and personal injury benefits, the client won a settlement of $950,000.
If you need an experienced legal team to represent you in a worker’s compensation case or any of our firm’s other practice areas, fill our contact form here to receive a free initial consultation today.