If you are injured at your job in Mississippi, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. After you’ve been examined and/or treated for your injury, immediately arrange to speak with a Mississippi workers’ compensation attorney about your right to compensation.
Which injured workers in this state qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefit payments? If you are the worker who has been injured, what steps will you need to take? Will you be allowed to see your own doctor? And what should you tell the doctor who examines you?
If you’ll keep reading this brief discussion of workers’ compensation and medical care in Mississippi, you will find the answers you may need, and you’ll learn more about your rights as the injured victim of a work-related accident in this state.
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program for injured employees. Employers purchase workers’ compensation coverage on behalf of their employees. The program is established by the state and managed by the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Take These Steps if You Are Injured at Work
On-the-job injuries happen in every line of work and every work environment. Some jobs, such as construction jobs, are more dangerous, but anyone could be injured or even disabled by a job-related injury. If you are injured at your place of work, what measures should you take?
If you are injured at work, seek medical attention at once – that’s the first and paramount priority – and then report your accident and injury to your employer. Mississippi law provides thirty days to report an injury to an employer, but you should make the report right away.
The employer will then report the incident to the insurance company that provides the workers’ comp coverage and to the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission.
What Benefits Are Provided Through Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation covers the majority of working people in Mississippi. All businesses in this state with five or more employees must provide workers’ compensation coverage. Workers’ comp benefits that are intended to compensate an injured worker for lost wages include:
- temporary partial disability benefits
- permanent partial disability benefits
- temporary total disability benefits
- permanent total disability benefits
Workers’ compensation also covers medical expenses arising from a workplace injury, including emergency treatment, surgeries, therapy, prescriptions, long-term rehabilitation, and travel costs.
Can You See Your Own Doctor?
If you are injured while you’re working, it will be important to seek immediate medical treatment, to recover compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages, and to regain your health and return to work as soon as possible.
Employers and insurance companies that provide workers’ comp coverage typically send an injured worker to a doctor that the insurance company designates or a doctor in the company’s network. In several states, injured workers can’t see their own doctors for workers’ comp claims.
If you are dissatisfied with the insurance company’s doctor and/or that doctor’s diagnosis of your injury and medical condition, can you be examined and diagnosed by your own doctor or by another doctor? Under the workers’ compensation rules in Mississippi, the answer is yes.
Injured workers in this state may choose the doctor who will provide their care and treatment. That doctor may also send an injured worker to one specialist, but further referrals must be approved by the insurance company.
What Should You Say to Your Doctor?
Tell your doctor everything about the accident and your injury. Your doctor’s diagnosis and prognosis are central to your workers’ compensation claim.
Tell the doctor about all of your symptoms, pain, and injuries, even if something seems minor or unrelated. Be absolutely honest and thoroughly comprehensive.
Do not exaggerate your injury or pain if you’re thinking that you’ll get quicker medical attention or more benefits that way. But don’t overlook or minimize your actual medical condition, either. To care for you properly, a doctor requires an accurate description of your medical condition.
Adhere to your doctor’s recommendations. If you are displeased with the treatment you receive, or if the doctor recommends a surgery or treatment you are not comfortable with, a Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyer can help you obtain a second opinion or find another doctor.
Nothing but the Truth
This cannot be emphasized strongly enough: You must tell your workers’ compensation doctor the full truth and nothing but the truth without any exaggerations, enhancements, or fabrications. Be entirely honest about:
- a pre-existing illness or injury
- your symptoms and the extent of your illness or injury
- how the accident happened and how your condition has developed
Remember that your goals are regaining your health and returning to work. Your doctor and your Mississippi workers’ compensation attorney will each do what they can to help you reach those goals.
What if Your Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied?
If your employer has workers’ compensation coverage and your injury occurred in the course and scope of your employment duties, you should be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits is denied, and if the dispute with the insurance company cannot be resolved privately, your workers’ compensation attorney will appeal that denial on your behalf.
Your attorney will file your appeal with the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission, and an administrative hearing will then be conducted before a workers’ compensation judge. Evidence from both sides will be considered, and the judge will render a written decision.
If you disagree with the ruling, your attorney may appeal to the full Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission within the first twenty days after the judge’s decision. If you disagree with the Commission’s decision, you may appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
What Else Should Injured Workers Know?
If you are unsure whether you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, ask your employer. If you do not get the answer you need, ask a Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyer to explain how Mississippi workers’ compensation laws apply to your own job situation.
A workers’ compensation attorney can discuss your employment rights, examine your workers’ compensation claim, ensure that you receive appropriate medical care, and fight aggressively for the worker’s compensation benefits you deserve and need.
Everyone would prefer to avoid a workplace injury, but if it happens, you are entitled to high-quality medical services and to wage replacement benefits. As soon as you have been examined and/or treated for your work-related injury, make the call to a workers’ comp attorney.