FAQs Worker’s Compensation Lawyer Jackson Mississippi – Interview with The Big Man
What is worker’s compensation in Mississippi?
Worker’s compensation in Mississippi is the system whereby somebody injured on the job has a right of recovery against an employer and/or the worker’s compensation insurance company.
You don’t get pain and suffering as you do in a car wreck, but it also has some advantages in that you don’t have to prove who’s at fault, so long as the incident wasn’t intentional to try and collect money.
If you were in the scope of your employment and went through the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission, you don’t deal with a jury. You get an administrative law judge and a streamlined process.
What is covered?
All medical expenses incurred as well as all the mileage going to and from doctor’s appointments, physical therapist appointments, occupational therapist appointments, and pain management doctors.
Indemnity benefits compensate for lost wages, although you don’t get actual wages. You get two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a cap that varies from year to year.
Why do I need a lawyer for worker’s compensation?
Worker’s compensation is different. For example, you don’t get pain and suffering compensation. It’s part of the law. And people don’t know that insurance companies want to pay the bare minimum.
Do you know if you’re entitled to mileage benefits? How do you get medical treatment if the insurance company says, “No, we don’t think that’s related”?
An attorney will know exactly what to do and the steps to take to get you full medical treatment and financial benefits. The number one job of insurance companies is to pay as little money as possible. My job is to get you as many benefits as possible.
Why should a person hire The Big Man?
I’m experienced with worker’s compensation and come from a blue-collar background. My mom worked at a paper mill for over 40 years, and I worked at that same paper mill in college, and I worked on the railroad.
I have seen people with on-the-job injuries firsthand who didn’t know what to do. Men who could rebuild engines didn’t know how to handle a case like this.
I’ve learned how to handle these cases so people who get hurt on the job can call me, and I’ll help. I’m here to fight for everybody entitled to what the system allows.
What’s the cost?
You don’t pay me anything if you don’t get a recovery. Generally, we get 25% of the total if we recover, and that’s set by statute. The only way the percentage goes up is if we go to the Mississippi Supreme Court or Court of Appeals, in which case it goes up to 33%.
What’s your success rate?
We endeavor to ensure every one of our clients gets the benefits they deserve, and we want to get them as much money as possible.
The vast majority of our clients receive compensation in some form, quite often ending in a settlement or an award from an administrative law judge or sometimes on appeal from the full commission.
I’ve gone all the way to the Mississippi Court of Appeals, and we ended up getting that individual over $160,000.
Are there any other benefits?
You’re entitled to reimbursement for your medications. I’ve seen everything from prosthetics to a cane that had to be covered. There are circumstances where wheelchair vans are covered.
If the insurance company cuts you a check, the law says they have to. I know all this stuff.
Let’s say the accident’s my fault. I was operating a forklift and placing something up high, misjudged, and it came crashing down, and I’m hurt, and it’s my fault. Do I still get benefits?
With the worker’s compensation system, you don’t have to show fault. It was established with the great compromise in the early 1900s. You don’t get a jury, but you don’t have to prove fault.
How long do I get to file my claim?
The statute of limitations on a worker’s compensation case is two years from the date of injury. There’s another statute of limitations, and it’s one year from the last payment of indemnity benefits.
So if you were off work and received benefits for three months, and they stopped those benefits, you have one year from that period to file.
Otherwise, you let your statute of limitation run. However, I strongly advise contacting me the second you get hurt and getting the process started. I can get your choice of physician, and we can get things steered right.
Do I get a lump sum or monthly payments?
It depends on the situation. Whenever you settle a case, it’s a lump sum payment where everything is paid upfront. The employer and carrier can pay you a lump sum or pay you over the allotted period. You’re supposed to receive benefits if you are off work because the doctor says so.
A lot of times, they pay weekly. But the law requires them to pay at least biweekly. The weekly maximum for a 2023 injury is $585.82. They would pay two-thirds of your average weekly wage, capped at that $585.82.
Do I work directly with you?
Yes. I have two staff members that do a wonderful job and can answer 95% of your questions, but I am the attorney on the file.
How long does it typically take to get a settlement?
It depends on the injury. Sometimes it only takes four to six months. Some cases are worked for years because it’s difficult to settle and get approval from the Worker’s Compensation Commission until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement.
That doesn’t mean you’re back to a hundred percent. It means the doctor has you as close to a hundred percent as possible.
You’re not going to get better, so they assign restrictions and impairment ratings and may even break out what the future medical cost can be.
What should I tell my doctor?
The second you walk into the doctor’s office, tell them, “I was injured on the job. Here is the date of injury. I reported it to this person.” It should be a supervisor.
If not a supervisor, then anyone in the chain of command so it gets to the supervisor. Be as specific about what happened as possible. It becomes part of the record right then and there. You start the paper trail.
How do I know if my employer reported my injury?
Call the Worker’s Compensation Commission and find out. Here at Big Man Law, we pull up an individual when they contact us about a worker’s compensation case on the worker’s compensation website and get as much information as possible.
If the employer reports it, you’ll likely be contacted by an insurance agent promptly. Remember, you want to start handling things on the front end immediately so that you build a record in your favor. That’s why you want to get the ball rolling immediately.
Should quit my job?
I never recommend an individual quit their job, even if a doctor says you can’t do what you would normally do. Contact your employer with your restrictions and ask if there’s a job that meets the restrictions. They’re going to say yes or no.
If they say no, they’ve created a presumption that you’re permanently totally disabled or entitled to the 100% of the scheduled member loss like an arm or leg. Quitting your job places your case in peril.
Listen to the Interview with The Big Man!
Ask a Lawyer with Steve Sleeper · The Big Man at Big Man Law on Worker’s Compensation in Mississippi