What Types of Injuries Are Considered to Be Catastrophic Workplace Injuries in Mississippi?
Unfortunately, many workplaces aren’t nearly as safe as they should be, particularly in construction and agriculture. But any job that has people on-site with machinery and equipment that can malfunction or workspaces that themselves are unsafe leads to many injuries every year.
Many injuries are minor, and the employee can recover quickly and return to work. However, there are more extreme injuries that can be life-altering–or they can be deadly. This is the category that’s referred to as catastrophic injury, and these typically happen suddenly and often with no warning. Here are some of the types of injuries Mississippi places in this category.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). People often think of these as concussions, but concussions are a sub-category of TBIs. These can cause permanent memory loss, cognitive impairment, and physical disabilities, among other conditions.
- Amputations. If someone’s leg, arm, foot, hand, toe, or finger is amputated, it can cause significant lifestyle changes, including whether or not they’re able to continue functioning in their job.
- Severe burns. These can be from fire or chemicals. Recovery from severe burns can take extensive amounts of time. They can cause impairment and chronic pain.
- Spinal cord injuries. These can cause people to no longer be fully mobile through paralysis or loss of feeling at various points along the body, making it unsafe for them to be in specific environments.
What Do Mississippi Laws Do to Protect Workers with Catastrophic Workplace Injuries?
These types of injuries are not only life-altering, but they can be costly. It’s no surprise that many companies will work hard to avoid having to pay out any kind of claims. Mississippi has an important law in place to protect workers who suffer from catastrophic injuries on the job.
Workers’ compensation. Workers in Mississippi don’t have to go through a waiting period when they start a job to be eligible for workers’ compensation, as it becomes applicable on their first day of work through the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act. The compensation offered can include wage replacement, out-of-pocket medical expenses, retraining costs if the employee can no longer do the original job, financial payment for permanent injuries, rehabilitation or therapy services, or benefits for survivors of employees who died from an injury on the job.
There are some exceptions to who qualifies for workers’ comp in Mississippi. Domestic workers, independent contractors, and businesses that have fewer than five employees aren’t eligible.
It’s also crucial to know that the Mississippi law is no-fault. That means that the process of applying for workers’ comp involves only the employee reporting the injury, not a statement of fault. All that’s needed is that the injury happened while they were at work and on duty.
Are There Any Negatives to Filing for Workers’ Comp in Mississippi?
While overall, the program is meant to get the injured party financial help as soon as possible, there are some other factors that aren’t as useful to employees.
- Pain and suffering. One thing not included in the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act is pain and suffering, which is sometimes referred to as an intangible cost, as it’s not a specific dollar amount.
- Can’t sue the employer. An injured employee who files for workers’ comp forfeits their right to sue the employer if they feel the employer was at fault for the accident. Even if they were grossly negligent, the only recourse the employee has is workers’ comp.
Can I Sue a Third Party?
It’s possible to sue a third party that’s not the employer if they were involved in the accident that caused the injury. For example, if a customer or vendor caused the accident, it’s possible to sue them for the medical costs as well as pain and suffering. Working with an experienced workplace injury attorney is advisable to determine if this is a valid route for you.
Will Workers’ Comp Pay All the Bills?
This is another downside to the workers’ comp program: There are restrictions on how much it can pay out and for how long.
- Amounts. Workers’ comp benefits will only provide two-thirds of the employee’s salary.
- Duration. Disabled employees, even those permanently disabled, will usually only receive benefits for a maximum of 450 weeks, or not quite nine years. That means that if someone is injured early in their adult work life, they could reach their 30s or 40s with no income and potentially no way to make a living. That also affects young families if the employee dies. The survivors will only receive death benefits for 450 weeks. That means a single parent with children approaching tween and teen years may have little income at that point.
What if Workers’ Comp Denies My Claim?
Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should. Someone who suffered a catastrophic injury and is denied compensation can be devastated. They could face thousands of dollars in lost wages and out-of-pocket medical expenses. However, that’s not always the end of the story. Contact a workers’ comp attorney for assistance appealing the denial.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Injured While at Work?
Call the Rundlett Law Firm at 601-282-8426 for a free, in-depth, no-obligation case evaluation. Workers’ compensation and filing for damages for workplace injuries is a complex process. Having an experienced, knowledgeable workplace injury attorney working on your case is vital to ensure legal deadlines are met, and the companies involved provide what they should.