Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Mississippi employees who are injured or develop an illness from their work have the right to seek workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to help workers make a full recovery or reach their maximum medical recovery, meaning that they recover as much as possible after their injury or illness. The benefits cover medical bills, physical rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, and lost wages.
Workers’ compensation should cover all of an injured employee’s medical bills, but they don’t cover the entirety of lost wages. Different temporary and permanent wage loss benefits include Permanent Total Disability, Temporary Total Disability, and Permanent Partial Disability. Those who can return to work but cannot earn as much as their pre-injury earnings can receive Supplemental Earnings.
When receiving permanent, partial, or supplemental benefits, workers can only receive ⅔ of their pre-injury earnings. For example, if someone receives Temporary Total Disability and they earned $800 a week before their injury, they would only receive $533.34. If an injured worker receives Supplemental Earnings, they would receive ⅔ of the difference between their pre-injury earnings and their current earnings.
If their pre-injury earnings were $800 a week and now they only make $600, they would receive ⅔ of $200 in additional earnings. In Mississippi, those who receive workers’ compensation wage loss benefits can only receive benefits for a total of 450 weeks.
Although workers’ compensation is critical for the health of injured and ill employees, many are unsure what types of injuries and illnesses are covered by workers’ compensation benefits. This page goes into depth about what illnesses and injuries you can expect to have covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Receiving workers’ compensation after suffering an injury or developing an illness on the job should be a seamless process, but unfortunately, the process is often not that simple. Employers and their insurance companies will often put up roadblocks for injured employees so that they’re either denied benefits or underpaid.
If your benefits are denied, underpaid, or cut off prematurely, you need legal experts in your corner to fight for the benefits you’re entitled to. For expert legal support in Mississippi, contact the workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC. Our law office doesn’t just handle workers’ compensation cases—we specialize in them. We’ve helped workers across many different industries, including construction, manufacturing, office work, and more. Regardless of your place of employment, we can represent you. With our expert knowledge and years of experience, you can count on our lawyers to help you maximize your workers’ compensation benefits.
If you want to learn more about workers’ compensation and whether you qualify to receive medical bills and wage loss benefits, call our Jackson office at 601-488-3975. You can also schedule a free case evaluation by clicking here.
What If I’m Partially At Fault For My Injury?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that you don’t have to prove that your injury or illness resulted in someone else’s negligence or that you weren’t partially to blame. In most cases, you could be at fault for your injury and still receive workers’ compensation.
There are situations in which you could become injured and not receive workers’ compensation. You need to be able to prove that your injury or illness developed because of your work. If you sprain your ankle while on your lunch break, for example, you would likely have difficulty proving that your injury was related to work. Workers’ compensation cases have the designation of AOE/COE, meaning Arising Out of Employment and happening During the Course of Employment. Your injury or illness needs to arise out of employment.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that an injury or illness is work-related if, “an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.” Whether a person’s job contributed or aggravated an injury or illness is often left up to court rulings.
Additionally, you’ll likely have difficulty collecting workers’ compensation benefits if your injuries were self-inflicted, you were under the influence, committed a crime, or broke company policy.
Repetitive Strain or Stress Injuries
Workers’ compensation benefits cover repetitive strain or stress injuries (RSIs) which are exceedingly common across a variety of professional industries. Employees who perform the same tasks repeatedly often develop RSI injuries.
A few common RSIs include carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, back pain, bursitis, chronic pains, De Quervain syndrome (texting thumb), Dupuytren’s contracture, intersection syndrome, edema, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), nerve injuries, radial tunnel syndrome, Raynaud’s disease, rotator cuff injuries, stenosing tenosynovitis (trigger finger), tendinitis, medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS), thoracic outlet syndrome, and tendinosis.
Some workers who have a higher risk of repetitive strain injuries include:
- Bus drivers
- Agricultural workers
- Meat processing workers
- Assembly line workers
- Factory workers
- Delivery workers
- Data entry workers
- Grocery clerks
- Postal Workers
- Shelf stackers
- Office workers
- Packaging workers
Injuries Related to Stress
The medical community now recognizes a strong connection between high levels of stress and both physical and psychological illnesses. Mississippi workers’ compensation covers certain extreme forms of stress, but whether or not your stress condition will be covered is on a case by case basis.
For example, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be covered if the cause of the condition relates to an extreme single incident. If you developed PTSD because there was an active gunman or another traumatic incident, you could possibly recover workers’ compensation for PTSD.
Unfortunately, you need to have strong proof that your stress condition resulted from an incident at work, and proving emotional conditions is more challenging than proving physical conditions. If you need assistance proving you developed a stress-related illness on the job, call a workers’ compensation lawyer to assist you with your case.
Compensation for Stress From Physical Injuries
Although it can be challenging to prove that a stress illness resulted from your work, you may have an easier time proving that you developed an emotional or mental condition from the physical injury or illness you developed at work. Injuries and illnesses often result in emotional pain, difficulty sleeping, depression, and anxiety. Injured or ill employees can often receive compensation for emotional and mental assistance because their condition developed from their work injury or illness. Emotional and mental conditions that develop from a workplace injury or illness are known as compensable consequences.
Occupational illnesses are diseases or illnesses that develop at work from being exposed to something or experiencing something that significantly contributes to the disease or illness. For example, prolonged asbestosis can lead to the cancer mesothelioma, so employees who develop this cancer because of their work environment can recover workers’ compensation.
Although some occupational illnesses are easy to prove because of prolonged exposure to something that’s uncommon outside of work, some illnesses are considered “ordinary diseases of life,” meaning that they develop from various causes throughout a person’s life. Proving that your work caused an “ordinary disease” can be challenging because they often result from different factors.
For example, if you develop high blood pressure because of your stressful job, you may have difficulty proving that there is a direct link between your work and your illness. Your work needs to be a significant contributing factor for your condition, so you need to prove that your workplace caused or significantly contributed to your illness or disease through medical evidence.
Many workers have difficulty proving that their “ordinary diseases” resulted from their work, but first responders often receive benefits for “ordinary diseases.” Their work is dangerous and stressful, so they often receive workers’ compensation for heart disease, high blood pressure, hernias, and other conditions that would usually be classified as “ordinary diseases.”
Some common occupational illnesses include:
- Black lung
- Bright’s disease
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Immune system disorders
- Caisson disease
- Injuries from chemicals
- Kidney diseases
- Lung diseases
- Diabetic neuritis
- Diseases resulting from poison exposure
- Diseases resulting from chemical exposure
- Mental and emotional disability
- Multilobar ganglia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Ruptured ulcers
- Ovarian cysts
- Ulcers abscesses and felons
- Typhoid fever
What If I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
Pre-existing conditions are covered by workers’ compensation as long as your work significantly contributed to your current issue. For example, you may have had lower back issues before sustaining an injury, but if your work activity aggravated your condition, you can still recover workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, there are situations where your pre-existing condition may impact your ability to receive full Permanent Partial Disability Benefits.
Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover Hearing Loss?
There are many different industries in which workers experience extended periods of loud noises, which significantly contribute to hearing loss. Like with other illnesses and injuries, you need to be able to prove that your work significantly contributed to your hearing loss, but as long as there aren’t other factors that could have significantly deteriorated your hearing and you work in an industry that has loud noises, you should be able to prove your claim.
What If an Employee Dies on the Job?
In the event that an employee dies because of their work, their spouse, children, or additional family members who are dependent can collect workers’ compensation death benefits. Those eligible for these benefits can receive a percentage of the victim’s wages earned before they passed away.
The percentage of the victim’s wages that go toward their surviving family members differs from state to state. In Mississippi, the percentage is as follows:
- 35% for surviving spouses
- 10% for each dependent child in addition to the 35% toward the surviving spouse
- 25% for dependent children when there’s no spouse
- 15% to other dependents such as dependent siblings, parents, and grandparents.
The surviving family members of the deceased cannot recover more than ⅔ (66.67%) of the victim’s earnings. For example, if the surviving spouse and dependent children already receive ⅔ of the decedent’s income, the victim’s dependent siblings would not be able to recover death benefits.
Dependent children can only continue receiving death benefits until they reach the age of 18. If they’re full-time students, they can continue receiving benefits until they’re 23. Additionally, dependent children who are physically or mentally impaired and cannot work as a result can continue receiving death benefits after turning 18.
Like with other forms of workers’ compensation in Mississippi, recipients will only receive death benefits for a maximum of 450 weeks. If the decedent’s surviving spouse remarries before that time, they’ll lose their benefits. Dependent children will continue receiving 15% of the deceased’s weekly income even if the surviving spouse remarries.
The percentage you receive from the deceased also depends on whether you were wholly or partially dependent on them. Partially dependent means that only a percentage of your income came from the decedent’s wages. A wholly dependent claimant means they were almost entirely dependent on the deceased. If you were only partially dependent, you can expect to receive the percentage in which you relied on the victim.
For example, if you were 50% dependent on the deceased and were their child, you would qualify for 50% of the 25% that you would ordinarily receive as a dependent child. If the deceased made $800 weekly, a wholly dependent child would qualify for $200. A partially dependent child who only relied on the deceased for 50% of their income would recover 50% of the $200, meaning they would qualify for $100 a week.
Contact a Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you suffered from an injury or illness that resulted from your work or if you lost a loved one from a work injury or illness, you need expert legal support to help ensure you receive the full benefits you’re entitled to. Employers and insurance companies often look for ways to deny or underpay benefits, and they may cut off your wage loss payments prematurely. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you prove the severity of the injury or illness you developed while at work so that you can receive full compensation for medical bills and time away from work.
A Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyer can also make sure you receive your rightful benefits if you lost a loved one to workplace injury or occupational illness.