Do I Have a Right to Payments as an Injured Worker? – You Bet

Oftentimes injured workers are sent home to recover from their injury.

The work checks stop coming, but the bills do not. Under Mississippi law, an injured worker is entitled to compensation benefits at the rate of two-thirds of what their average weekly wage was before the worker sustained a disabling injury. [1] Unfortunately, injured workers do not always receive the benefit amount they are entitled to, if at all, and that is why one should always consult an attorney when they sustain an on the job injury.

The most common situation is when an employer denies a work related injury occurred and refuses to pay benefits to the injured worker. In that situation, an attorney is almost always needed to obtain the benefits the worker may be entitled. The first step is showing the injury the worker sustained is medically related to the worker’s employment.[2] The process usually requires obtaining medical records linking the injury to the job.

The next step is commencing an action before the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission against the employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. [3] Once the action is filed, no longer does the injured worker’s attorney deal with the adjuster who may only have only some basic training in workers’ compensation law. At that point, the employer gets their attorney actively involved.

Once the employer’s attorney reviews the claim he or she will advise the employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier whether or not to admit the claim and pay the benefits owed, or continue denying the claim. If the employer decides to admit the claim, then checks are cut and payment continues at the rate of at least once every two weeks.

If the Employer continues to deny the injury, then your attorney must go through the discovery process, which can take several months to complete, before having a hearing before an administrative law judge to determine whether the injury sustained by the worker is one where the employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier should pay for the medical expenses and temporary disability benefits. If the injured worker prevails, then the employer and their insurance carrier will issue checks for unpaid benefits. If the injured worker does not prevail, then the claim is usually dismissed.

In the event the injured worker is receiving benefits, but being underpaid, the process is much simpler.

Wage statements are obtained from the employer, averaged, and then the two-thirds calculation is run on the averaged number. If an underpayment occurred, then the worker is entitled to the sum he or she was underpaid for the number of weeks of underpayment.

As you can see, the processes involved here can get complex very quickly. Most attorneys who handle workers’ compensation cases, like myself, practice in this area every day and know how to handle the various issues which can arise. If you suffered an injury on the job and would like additional information, please feel free to contact my law firm for a free consultation.

 

[1] Miss. Code Ann. § 71-3-17(b)

[2] Miss. Code Ann. § 71-3-7(1)

[3] Miss. Workers’ Compensation Comm’n Procedural R. 2.2