How do I apply for benefits in Jackson?
Your application for workers’ compensation benefits in Mississippi starts with your employer. You will need to notify your employer (your direct supervisor or another person in authority, not just a coworker) that you sustained an injury on the job or that you have a work-related illness.
Often, you need to provide proof of your workplace injury or illness. This generally involves providing written documentation from the doctor who examined you and diagnosed your work-related injury or illness.
Keep in mind that you have the right to choose the doctor who treats your injury or illness in Mississippi. If your employer tries to pressure you into seeing a certain doctor, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer right away who can deal directly with your employer on your behalf.
Who determines if I’m eligible for workers’ compensation?
The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Education Association periodically publishes an unofficial guide for how the claims process works in Mississippi. This 117-page-long document illustrates just how complicated and detailed the process can be for obtaining workers’ comp benefits in Mississippi.
In general, your employer’s insurance company is the first to decide whether or not you’re eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. That’s because insurance companies are responsible for paying such benefits.
If your employer’s insurance company denies your application for benefits for any reason, you will need to file a petition to controvert (Form B-5,11) with the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission, which is located in Jackson.
The Commission will then schedule a hearing to review your petition to controvert with an Administrative Judge (often referred to as an AJ or ALJ) who is an employee of the Commission. There are eight workers’ compensation Administrative Judges in Mississippi. All hearings are held in Jackson at the Commission’s headquarters on Lakeland Drive.
If you disagree with the Administrative Judge’s decision, you can appeal directly to the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission. The Commission does not normally hold in-person hearings to review an Administrative Judge’s decision.
If the Commission upholds an Administrative Judge’s decision to deny your application for workers’ compensation benefits, you have the right to file an appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court, which normally refers such cases to the Mississippi Court of Appeals. The 10-judge Mississippi Court of Appeals is located in the Gartin Justice Building on High Street in Jackson.
If the Mississippi Court of Appeals upholds the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission’s decision, you legally have the right to file another appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court in Jackson. However, the state Supreme Court must grant you permission to appeal. This often does not happen. As a result, the Mississippi Court of Appeals’ decision is often the final decision.
How much can I expect to receive?
How much money each person receives in workers’ compensation benefits can vary widely from one person to another. In general, if your work-related injury or illness is covered, you should receive compensation for:
- All medical expenses related to your work-related injury or illness
- Travel expenses related to your medical care for your injury or illness
- Replacement income while you’re recovering from your injury or illness
In general, employees eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Mississippi receive two-thirds of their average weekly wages, up to a maximum amount, which is adjusted each year. There’s also a time limit for how long you can receive wage loss benefits. In general, that time limit is 450 weeks or roughly 8 years and 33 weeks.
However, how much each employee receives in workers’ compensation benefits can be very different, even for employees who sustain similar injuries. Some workers might receive significantly more than others. That’s why it’s important to discuss your case as soon as possible with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
What is the timeline for the process?
There are many deadlines that need to be strictly adhered to throughout the workers’ compensation application process in Mississippi. Such deadlines include:
- 30 days – The amount of time you have to notify your employer that you sustained a workplace injury or illness.
- 2 years – The amount of time you have to file a petition to controvert with the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission if your employer’s insurance company denies your request for workers’ compensation benefits.
- 20 days – The amount of time you have to file an appeal with the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission if an Administrative Judge denies your petition to controvert.
- 30 days – The amount of time you have to file an appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court if the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission upholds an Administrative Judge’s decision.
If you miss any of these deadlines, your workers’ compensation application or appeal may be automatically denied. This is why it’s important to speak with an attorney sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you could miss out on your opportunity to obtain the benefits you rightfully deserve.
How can a lawyer help?
Having an experienced attorney who understands how the workers’ compensation system works in Jackson and Mississippi as a whole can make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your application or appeal. This is why many people rely on the experienced lawyers at Tabor Law Firm, P.A. in Jackson.
Our dedicated legal team has been helping injury victims and their families in Jackson obtain the workers’ compensation benefits they’re legally entitled to receive for years. As a result, we thoroughly understand the state and federal laws that apply to workers’ compensation benefits. We’re familiar with the judicial system and the appeals process. As your lawyer, we can skillfully guide your application through any obstacle you may encounter along the way.
Learn more about your legal rights if you or a loved one sustained a serious injury or illness covered by Mississippi’s workers’ compensation system. Contact our law firm and schedule your free consultation today. Our Jackson office is conveniently located on North Congress Street and we proudly serve people throughout Mississippi.