Being injured at work is usually stressful, painful, and costly. First, you need to know that most working Mississippians have protection under the state’s Workers’ Compensation Laws. However, there are exceptions, but legally all Mississippi employers with five full-time employees or more are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Suppose your employer has over five regularly employed workers (and doesn’t fall into particular employment categories) and doesn’t provide workers comp insurance. In that case, they may be non-compliant with the state’s workers comp law. In this case, you certainly have legal recourse, but only by consulting with a qualified Mississippi workers comp lawyer will you be sure of the right path to follow.
If your employer has under five employees, they can (and many do) voluntarily provide workers comp for their people.
There are specific groups of workers that do not fall under the state’s workers comp laws, such as farm workers, domestic laborers, employees of non-profit fraternal, religious, or charitable organizations, and more.
If your employer, or organization, is required to provide workers’ compensation and does not, it is a serious legal matter. They usually are liable for severe financial penalties up to $110,000 for the first offense and $55,000 or a maximum of 12 months in jail or both for second and subsequent offenses.
So, if your employer is required to provide workers comp but chooses not to, they will face statutory criminal and civil penalties. As an employee of this company, if you are injured during your employment, you may be able to sue your employer under the workers’ comp act.
Also, and particularly important to know that if you file suit against your uninsured employer, the company may not use as a defense that your negligence caused your injury, that you assumed the risk of their employment, and more.
Even under normal circumstances, workers’ comp cases in Mississippi are legally complex. The only lawfully valid answer to this question is to consult with a qualified, experienced Mississippi workers’ comp lawyer. They will analyze your case’s details and specifics and provide you with the best legal path to follow.
What Should Be Covered by Worker’s Comp, and When Does It Coverage Start?
Remember that there is always legal “mumbo jumbo” in all insurance law, and you may be confused by it. For example, if you were hurt at work, the injury “must arise” from and was “in the course and scope of your employment.” Then, your injury would be covered by workers’ comp. Basically, it means you had to be “on the clock” for your damages to be covered.
Also, in Mississippi, if you get injured at work, you legally should be covered as soon as you start working for your employer. There commonly are no “waiting periods” or minimum wage requirements.
Once again, though, the entire workers’ comp filing process is complex, especially if your employer or injury is in a legally “gray” area. Consulting with a Biloxi or Tupelo workers comp law firm is mandatory to protect your legal rights.
What Should I Do If I Am Injured “On the Job”?
First, fully explain to your immediate supervisor about your injury. This is vital, even if your employer is not required to offer workers’ comp insurance, especially if they choose not to do so!
You may believe you have thirty days to report your injury, but that’s not in your best interest, so don’t hesitate. This is critical because if you don’t report your injury immediately, your employer (or the insurance company) may later claim that you were not injured at work.
Once you report your injury, your employer is “put on notice” and is required to report your injury. Again, if your company doesn’t provide workers’ comp, reporting your injury immediately is vital to you and your workers’ comp lawyer if you must file a lawsuit.
You Must Not Ever File a False Workers’ Compensation Claim!
You may not know, but in Mississippi (and most states), filing a false or misleading statement about your workers’ comp claim as it’s illegal and could land you in prison.
Mississippi is profoundly serious about this and states that anyone who willfully makes a false or misleading statement to obtain or wrongfully withhold any benefit under the workers’ compensation laws is guilty of a felony. If found guilty, you could pay a fine of $5,000.00 or more (or double the value of your “fraud”) and up to three years in prison or both!
The workers’ comp laws are there for you, the employee’s protection, and safety, and either you or your employer will face severe consequences if these laws are legally abused.
If I Must Sue My Employer, Is It Beneficial to Me?
The simple answer is, yes, there may be. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your specific case, there may be advantages to filing a personal injury lawsuit. For one thing, you can seek compensation for the entire amount of your financial losses without being subject to arbitrary caps set by the law. States workers’ comp laws pay differing amounts but usually about two-thirds of your wage loss, etc. Commonly, there is a maximum amount paid for only a limited time.
Also, if you file a personal injury lawsuit, you could collect compensation for emotional distress caused by your injuries (commonly known as “pain and suffering”). In addition, you could also collect “punitive damages,” which are intended to punish your employer if their negligence or misconduct caused your injuries. These types of awards are usually not available through workers’ comp.
If your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp insurance, you may have no choice but to sue. However, your empathetic and knowledgeable workers’ comp law team will know how to legally approach these various issues and fight for the rights and compensation you deserve.
My Employer Doesn’t Provide Workers’ Comp, and I’ve Been Injured; How Should I Proceed?
If your employer doesn’t offer workers’ compensation and you’ve been hurt at work, your priority should be to call and consult with an experienced, local workers’ comp lawyer. Your lawyer, and their team, will analyze all the details of your case and ensure that your rights are protected and you get the financial compensation you rightfully deserve. Don’t hesitate, as your health and your family’s financial well-being depend on it.