Permanent Total Disability Benefits in Mississippi
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that assists workers with medical bills and lost wages in the event that they become injured while on the job. These benefits can cover temporary and permanent disabilities from injuries sustained at work. The workers’ compensation disability benefits that cover lost wages are known as indemnities.
Benefits can cover an acute injury sustained at work, such as a slip and fall or a forklift accident, or it may cover an injury you developed over a period of time, such as repeated motions that eventually strain your joints. You can also qualify for workers’ compensation if you developed an illness at work, such as lung cancer after being exposed to carcinogens.
Although some types of personal injury cases require someone to be at fault, workers’ compensation doesn’t require proof of fault. You can be eligible for workers’ compensation indemnities even if you can’t prove someone’s negligence resulted in your accident. If you can prove that someone’s negligence resulted in your injury, you could have a separate personal injury claim. This claim is entirely different from your workers’ compensation indemnity and is a different process. To learn more about personal injury cases in Mississippi, contact the legal professionals at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC.
The Complexities of Permanent Total Disability Benefits
There are different types of disability indemnity benefits. If an employee becomes permanently disabled from a work injury, they can qualify for Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits. These benefits are used to compensate a worker who is unable to return to work because of their disability.
Permanent Total Disability benefits differ from other workers’ compensation benefits because they only cover a percentage of the employee’s lost wages. When workers’ compensation is distributed correctly by insurance companies, workers can expect to receive total coverage for medical expenses related to the work injury they suffered. But even when distributed properly, injured workers cannot receive full compensation of lost wages with PTD or other disability indemnities.
Navigating workers’ compensation and indemnity benefits is incredibly challenging, and injured workers often face an uphill battle against unscrupulous employers and insurance companies hoping to pay as little as possible for employee injuries.
If you were injured in the workplace and may qualify for PTD, you need legal experts to untangle the complexities of indemnity benefits and fight for the compensation that you’re entitled to. When you work with an attorney who has experience with workers’ compensation indemnity benefits, you ensure that you receive the full compensation you’re owed from insurance companies.
Here at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC, our lawyers support Mississippi residents with workers’ compensation cases so that they earn the full Permanent Total Disability benefits they deserve for injuries in the workplace. Our attorneys have helped workers across numerous industries, including construction workers, truck drivers, laborers, and first responders, receive PTD and other workers’ compensation benefits. If you have any questions regarding workers’ compensation or Permanent Total Disability benefits, we encourage you to contact our Jackson office at 601-203-4552. We also offer free, no-risk consultations if you want to learn about your legal options moving forward with your injury or disability.
Limitations for Indemnity Benefits in Mississippi
Indemnity benefits are designed to cover lost wages for employees who sustained injuries on the job that keep them from working. They function as disability benefits, but they don’t cover the full wages an employee earned before their injury.
Injured workers are only eligible for ⅔ of the average weekly income they made a month before they were injured. You can expect to receive ⅔ of your average weekly wages for the amount of time in which you are out of work. The duration in which you can expect to receive those benefits depends on the type of indemnity benefits you are eligible for.
Types of Indemnity Benefits in Mississippi
If you’re unable to work after a workplace injury, you may qualify for one of four different types of indemnity benefits. The types of indemnity benefits Mississippi residents may qualify for include:
- Supplemental Earnings Benefits (SEB): Supplemental benefits are designed for injured employees who can’t work at full capacity because of their work injury. If they can make at least 90% of what they were making before the injury, they may be eligible for benefits for up to ten years. They receive ⅔ of the difference between what they made before the injury and what they now make.
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): The injured employee receives ⅔ of their income until their treating doctor says that they can return to work safely. Someone may receive TTD if they experienced an injury that they’ll be able to recover from and return to work after a period of healing. A person receiving TTD doesn’t necessarily need to be fully recovered before going back to work as long as their treating physician deems it safe for them to return.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD): If an injured employee is no longer able to use a body part or experiences a limb amputation but can still work in a limited capacity, they can receive ⅔ of their income before the injury. Their benefits are contingent on their percentage of disability.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD): An employee who is fully disabled from a work injury and can’t return to work can receive ⅔ of their pre-injury income. They may receive it indefinitely or receive a lump sum, meaning that they will receive a single payment rather than multiple payments over time.
Workers may qualify for only one type of indemnity benefit, but they may be able to qualify for a different benefit at a later date. For example, someone may qualify for Temporary Total Disability benefits because the extent of their disability is unclear. They may later qualify for Permanent Partial or Permanent Total Disabilities if they cannot recover from the injury and it affects their ability to work.
How Can I Qualify for Permanent Total Disability Benefits?
To qualify for Permanent Total Disability benefits, you need to be able to prove that you’re unable to return to work because of your work injury. You need to provide proof in court that you can’t return to your previous job or perform similar work.
The type of evidence you can use in court to prove your eligibility includes:
- Your treating doctor’s assessments
- Medical documents
- Statements from a Vocational Rehabilitation expert
- Work history
- Educational background
- Your age
- Physical capacity
- Intellectual capacity
- Functional limitations
- Extent of injuries
- Whether you have transferable work skills
- Your ability to receive re-training or be re-educated to work in another profession
- Your rehabilitation attempts
Unfortunately, there are situations in which it can be challenging to receive Permanent Total Disability benefits. If you returned to work at any point, the court may determine that you can’t receive benefits. This can even occur with working while in pain. If you can still work, despite experiencing pain in the process, you will likely not be eligible for Permanent Total Disability benefits.
Additionally, it can be challenging to prove that there isn’t other possible work you can engage in. For example, if you are a construction worker and become disabled, you can still likely work a desk job in some capacity, and your ability to work another job can prohibit you from receiving PTD benefits.
In the event that you’re ineligible to receive PTD benefits, you may still qualify for other types of disability benefits, including Supplemental Earnings Benefits (SEB) and Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
Automatic Qualifications for Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Although proving your inability to work can be challenging and confusing, certain catastrophic injuries automatically make you eligible for Permanent Total Disability benefits. These include:
- Losing both hands
- Losing both arms
- Losing both feet
- Losing both legs
- Losing both eyes
- Losing any combination of two of the above
- Certain types of paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries
- Certain traumatic brain injuries
- Serious burns that cover more than 25% of your body
Permanent Total Disability Benefits Mississippi Legislature
According to Mississippi Code 71-3-13(a), the legislature on Permanent Total Disability Benefits is as follows:
“In the case of total disability that is determined to be permanent, the injured employee is eligible to receive 66 ⅔% of their average weekly wages, subject to the maximum limitations.
Benefits paid to the employee shall not exceed 450 weeks or any amount greater than 450 times 66 ⅔% of the average weekly wage for the state.
Loss of both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs, both eyes, or of any two combined shall constitute a permanent total disability. In all other cases, permanent total disability will be determined in accordance with the facts and evidence provided.”
Call Expert Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Experiencing an injury that leads to disabilities can be incredibly difficult both physically and mentally. Severe and catastrophic injuries can lead to serious emotional and financial hardships. You shouldn’t have to worry about navigating the complexities of indemnity benefits alone. You need seasoned legal professionals that can help you through the process so that you receive the benefits you deserve.
The attorneys at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC have years of experience helping Mississippi residents receive Permanent Total Disability benefits. We’ll make sure you receive the maximum benefits possible for your work injury, and we’ll fight for you if your claim is denied. For expert workers’ compensation legal support, call our Jackson office at 601-203-4552. You can contact us here to schedule a free case evaluation.