The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act governs the rights and benefits an employee injured at work is entitled to.
The Act also regulates the procedures by which the employee receives those rights and benefits.
The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission is an agency that enforces workers’ compensation laws.
The MS Workers’ Compensation Commission can award benefits to employees even when an employer denied their claim.
While the workers’ compensation claim process does not start with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission, petitioning the Commission is the process by which an employee can appeal a denied claim.
So employees must know how to win a case with the MS Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Employees’ Rights Under the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Law
What rights does an employee have under the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act?
First, employees who are injured on the job have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Second, employees may appeal a denial of a claim for benefits. The employee does this by petitioning the MS Workers’ Compensation Commission.
These rights deserve a more thorough explanation.
Right to Employee Benefits
Eligible employees are entitled to certain employee benefits. Employees of an employer with more than five employees are eligible for workers’ compensation.
However, the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act excludes certain employees from eligibility, including:
- Farm workers,
- Domestic workers,
- Non-profit employees, and
- Independent contractors.
For eligible employees, workers’ compensation pays for medical, rehabilitation, disability, and death benefits.
Workers’ compensation will pay for reasonable and necessary medical expenses that are required to treat the injury.
Medical care benefits cover costs like:
- Doctor and hospital visits,
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation, and
- Medical equipment.
These benefits may also reimburse the costs of traveling to and from medical appointments.
Disability benefits (§ 71-3-17)
Disability benefits reimburse the employee for wages that are lost because the injury prevents the employee from working.
Under Mississippi workers’ compensation law, the amount of disability benefits depends on the extent of the injury and ability of the employee to return to gainful employment.
Death benefits (§ 71-3-25)
Workplace injuries can end in the death of the injured employee.
In these cases, workers’ compensation pays reasonable funeral expenses to the surviving family members.
In addition, a surviving spouse receives a lump-sum payment of $1,000 and 35% of the deceased spouse’s wages.
If there is a surviving spouse, children can receive 10% of a deceased parent’s wages. If there is no surviving spouse, children can receive 25% of the deceased parent’s wages.
Right to Petition the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission If Benefits Denied
If the employer or their insurance company denies a claim for benefits, the employee has the right to petition a review of the denial before a Commission judge.
Reasons an Employer Might Deny an Employees’ Claim
There are many reasons an employer or an insurance company might deny a claim for workers’ compensation.
Some of these reasons include:
- Missed filing and notice deadlines;
- The person claiming benefits is not an “employee” under MS law;
- The injury does not relate to the person’s employment; or
- The insurance company does not cover the injury or consider the injury serious.
The employer or insurance company might also deny a workers’ compensation claim for other reasons, like illegal drug use or because someone intentionally caused the injury.
Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission Appeal Process
As mentioned above, employees can petition the Commission to review a denial of benefits.
The administrative law judge will hear the case and determine the employee’s right to workers’ compensation benefits.
If the administrative law judge finds that the employee is not entitled to benefits, further appeals may be necessary.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim and appealing denied claims is demanding and complex.
For this reason, hiring a Mississippi workplace accident attorney is the best way to get the benefits you deserve.
How to Prove Your Claim to the MS Workers’ Compensation Commission
After you file a petition with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission, you will need to prove your case. You will need to convince the judge that your employer denied you benefits to which you are entitled.
What Do You Need to Prove?
To prove that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, you must show four things:
- You are an employee, rather than an independent contractor;
- Your employer is subject to the Workers’ Compensation Act;
- You were injured and that injury was the result of a work-related accident; and
- You gave your employer notice of the injury within 30 days.
How Do You Prove It?
The employee must submit evidence to the judge that supports the employee’s case.
Each party provides evidence before the workers’ compensation hearing.
The judge will consider the evidence submitted in deciding whether to award or deny the employee’s claim for benefits.
To prove your case, you will need to submit evidence documenting your injury. Your evidence should show:
- The date and time of the injury,
- A description of the accident that caused the injury,
- The extent and severity of the injury,
- Any resulting permanent disability,
- Calculations of medical expenses and lost wages, and
- Any benefits already paid.
You should provide evidence, including bills, pay stubs, medical evaluations, and witness statements.
Do You Have a MS Workers’ Comp Commission Case? Our Lawyers Can Help
Filing a workers’ compensation claim and appealing a denial of that claim is often difficult.
At Harris Law Firm, our lawyers can help:
- Manage notice and filing deadlines,
- Gather key evidence;
- Calculate your medical expenses and lost wages; and
- Communicate with the employer and the insurance company on your behalf.
Unless you have knowledge of and experience with workers’ compensation cases, it is easy to make errors that can cost you your benefits.
Contact the Experienced Workplace Injury Attorneys at Harris Law Firm Today
Since 1981, we have fought for justice on behalf of our injured clients. Contact us online for a free case evaluation or call 662-235-8951. Let’s discuss how we can put our experience to work for you.