Serving Mississippi and Louisiana
Whether you have been injured in an on-the-job accident or are suffering from an occupational illness or repetitive stress injury, work-related injuries can be devastating for you and your family. Even you are expected to fully recover, and eventually return to work at the same level of pay, you have medical needs and loss of income to contend with. If your injuries are permanent, you may never be able to earn a living again. Workers’ Compensation laws were created to protect injured workers like you, and we are here to fight for the full benefits you need and deserve.
Ready to discuss your workers’ compensation claim with our team of attorneys? Call Reeves & Mestayer at 228-374-5151 to discuss your options now.
Why You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
A workers’ compensation claim is not a lawsuit, and you do not need to prove fault to receive benefits. It is an insurance claim. The law was created to make it quick and easy for injured workers to receive medical benefits and replacement of a portion of their lost income.
The problem is that some employers and even more insurance companies try to deny workers’ compensation claims or cut benefits short. There are many tactics that they may try to use against you. Most often we see the insurance companies claiming that workers are able to return to work when they are still not well enough to work again. In addition to terminating your workers’ compensation benefits early, this also puts your health at risk. You could sustain lifelong injuries because of an insurance company’s insistence that you are ready to go back to work.
They may also try to pin the blame for your workplace accident on you. Not only does this threaten your workers’ compensation claim, it’s insulting to workers who do their best and work hard for their employers every day. The insurance company may claim that you failed to meet safety requirements, even if you were working within the training protocols you were taught.
They may even say that your injury occurred outside the workplace. This is one of the most common concerns of workers’ comp insurance companies: workers who get injured off the job but try to claim that the injury occurred at work, leaving the insurance company to pick up the bill. However, this is no reason to treat an injured worker so unfairly.
While the process of applying for and receiving workers’ compensation should be straightforward and simple, companies and insurance providers can make it far more complicated than necessary. Hiring an attorney ensures that you can avoid common errors and get the money you are rightfully owed.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys are here to fight for you. We will stand up to the insurance company so that you can get the full benefits that you deserve.
TYPES OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INJURIES
The types of injuries you may suffer depend largely on the industry you work in. Some of the industries with the highest rates of worker injuries include:
- Health care and social assistance
- Forestry, fishing, agriculture, and hunting
- Transportation and warehousing
Injuries that may qualify you for workers’ compensation include:
- Back and spine injuries
- Broken bones
- Damage to the ears, resulting in tinnitus or other issues
- Injuries to the eyes, nose, or jaw
- Repetitive stress injuries caused by routine repetitive tasks; present in everyone from restaurant workers to office workers and manufacturing professionals
- Soft tissue injuries
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fall injuries
- Crush injuries
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness in Mississippi or Louisiana, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits including:
- Payment of your medical expenses
- Weekly payments to replace up to two-thirds of you lost income while you are unable to work
- Weekly payments or a lump sum payment for permanent disability, whether it is partial or total
Spouses and minor children and other dependents of a worker who died of his or her injuries may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Requirements in Mississippi
Each state sets its own workers’ compensation laws and requirements. As a Mississippi employee, it’s important that you understand state laws and know your rights. Under Mississippi law, employers with at least five regular employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This protects even employees who work for smaller companies. While some industries are exempt from these requirements, construction is not one of them.
Per the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission, injured employees receive up to 66 2/3% of their income while injured. As of 2020, the maximum amount an injured employee can receive each week is $505.43.
Your medical expenses should also be paid by workers’ compensation. You must go to an approved doctor and follow reasonable care recommendations to continue receiving compensation. If you go to an outside doctor or fail to follow care recommendations, your claim may be closed.
THIRD PARTY CLAIMS
Another issue to consider while pursuing workers’ compensation is whether or not you have a third party claim. A third party claim is when you are able to seek compensation from someone other than your employer. You cannot sue your employer; that is why the workers’ compensation system exists. However, if someone else caused your injuries, you may be able to sue them for additional compensation.
There are several ways that a third party could be liable for your injuries. If you drive for work and someone crashes into you, the person who crashed into you could be liable for your injuries. While you still may be able to claim workers’ compensation, they may expect you to pursue a personal injury claim against the liable driver.
You could also have a third party claim if you were injured on the job by a contractor. This is common on construction sites and in related industries, where outside contractors are often brought in for specialty work or to fill gaps in the workforce.
If a contractor is liable for your injuries because of their negligence, you should talk to a lawyer about a personal injury claim. Note that this does not extend to coworkers. If an individual is employed by the same company that employs you, you cannot sue them for a work-related injury.
Hiring an attorney for a third party claim is highly recommended. Getting your medical bills and income replaced while you wait for a claim to settle can be a challenge, and your attorney can help you decide which avenue to pursue.
If you initially receive workers’ compensation but evidence comes out that a third party is liable for your injuries, you may have to repay workers’ compensation with the settlement money you receive. Your attorney can help ensure that the settlement money you receive is enough to cover any other claims that must be repaid and the other financial obligations you have from the accident.
Choosing an Attorney for your Workplace Accident Injury Claim
While the workers’ compensation process is supposed to be quick and easy, employees often encounter obstacles. Employers should make the process simple for employees, since it benefits them as well. The workers’ compensation process allows employers to avoid the threat of personal injury claims, while allowing employees to seek compensation without having to prove that their employer did something wrong.
However, some employers still make it difficult for employees to get the compensation they are owed. They may do this to avoid an increase in their workers’ compensation rates or to keep their injury rates down. When you encounter pushback from your employer or their insurance company, it’s time to bring an attorney in to advocate for you.
Employers or workers’ comp insurance companies may deny claims for a wide range of reasons. In many situations, they do this because they know employees are unlikely to push back out of fear of retribution. Your attorney can step in and clear up these misunderstandings very quickly, clearing the way for you to receive the medical benefits and income you are owed.
What if someone outside of your workplace is responsible for your injury? In that case, you may be able to recover compensation with a personal injury claim. A third-party claim may allow you to receive much more than you would with a workers’ compensation claim. If you decide to go this route, you’ll need an attorney to investigate your accident, assess your expenses, and negotiate with the insurance company.
Turn to Reeves & Mestayer for the Representation You Deserve
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job or suffered an occupational illness in Mississippi, Louisiana or Alabama please call the workers’ compensation attorneys of Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC at 228-374-5151 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 or contact us online today to schedule your free initial consultation. You have a very limited amount of time to act or you will forever lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits. Please, contact us right away, before it is too late.