Workplace injuries are nerve-wracking in multiple ways. First, any injury can cause pain, limit your ability to meet your obligations, and require the inconvenience of multiple doctors’ appointments. Second, an injury at work often makes employees nervous. They wonder if they’ll be fired, investigated, or looked at with suspicion because of their injury.
A lot of the worry that comes with a workplace injury is unnecessary. Learn more about assigning liability to your injury, and if you are struggling with a workers’ comp claim, contact Reeves & Mestayer at 228-300-2754.
Determining Who Is Responsible May Not Be Necessary
Your first goal after an injury may be proving that someone else caused it—or at least proving that your actions didn’t cause your injury.
This is not a good use of your time. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in Mississippi. It is designed to protect employees and employers alike. Employees do not have to prove that their employers were negligent in order to get money for lost wages and medical bills, and employers can protect employees without exposing themselves to lawsuits.
Because of this, it often does not matter who caused your injury. Regardless of who is to blame, you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits.
This is true whether you caused your injury by violating safety standards or working irresponsibly, your workplace caused the injury by encouraging unsafe practices, or a coworker caused an injury by working unsafely. If the party responsible for your injury owns or is employed by your employer, you cannot seek compensation from them. Workers’ compensation is your only option.
When a Third Party is Responsible
There is one exception to the rule explained above. If a third party is responsible for your injuries, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against them to get compensation for your injuries.
There are many ways this can happen. Consider a job where you have to drive between work sites. Your time spent driving is on the clock, so you are technically at work. If another driver strikes you during that time, they are likely liable for your injuries and all the losses you suffer because of them. This allows you to pursue a third-party claim.
Another example: imagine a construction site that is partially staffed by employees of the construction company (including you) and partially staffed by contractors who are not employed by your company. A contractor fails to check their surroundings before backing up in a forklift and causes your arm to get crushed between two pieces of equipment. Since they are not employed by your company, they are a third party. You could seek damages with a personal injury claim.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers After an Injury
Mississippi workers’ compensation provides both medical benefits and wage loss benefits. Medical benefits include reasonable medical services that you need after a workplace injury. This includes services that help you reach your maximum level of improvement. Covered expenses may include hospital services, doctor expenses, surgical expenses, occupational or physical therapy, ambulatory aides, and related costs.
Wage loss benefits cover up to two-thirds of their regular weekly pay. However, this is capped at a maximum amount set by state legislation each year. The actual percentage of your wages you earn is dependent on the nature of the injury and the disability it causes.
Need Help with Your Workers’ Comp Claim? Contact Reeves & Mestayer
Workplace injuries can be a complicated issue for employees and employers alike, which is why it’s helpful to connect with a Mississippi workers’ compensation attorney. It is likely that your injury is covered by workers’ compensation, which may save you the time and effort of initiating a personal injury claim.
However, if your injury was caused by a third party, you may have to seek compensation from them directly. This may also allow you to get compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement, and other losses you have suffered.
You can’t know your options until you sit down with one of our attorneys and discuss them. We’re here to talk whenever you’re ready! To schedule a case evaluation, reach out to Reeves & Mestayer online or call us at 228-300-2754.