Every state has its own laws that define how to apply and qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you get hurt or sick on the job, we’ll explain how to tell if your employer has insurance coverage. Then, follow the steps we’ve outlined below to apply for Mississippi workers’ compensation benefits.
Which Employers Must Have Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Insurance Under Current State Law?
According to the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC), any employer with five or more employees must carry insurance coverage. The only workers automatically exempt from this mandatory coverage requirement are:
- Independent contractors and sub-contractors
- Domestic employees
- Farm laborers
- Federal employees
- People who work exclusively for non-profits, charitable groups, religious and/or cultural organizations
- Maritime, railroad or transportation employees covered by federal workers’ compensation
Steps to Apply for Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you get hurt or sick in the workplace, follow these steps to apply for Mississippi workers’ compensation benefits:
- Notify your supervisor of your injury immediately after your workplace accident. Generally, you must notify your employer within 30 days to qualify for any workers’ comp benefits. Failing to submit notice within two years of your accident or illness diagnosis date may disqualify you from claiming benefits.
- Seek medical treatment from a doctor or provider that you trust as soon as possible. We say this because state law lets you do this – and that doctor can refer you to a specialist, if needed, without approval from your employer’s insurance provider. Your employer’s insurer must then approve any additional referrals.
- Your employer then has 10 days to notify their insurance provider. This officially starts your claim for workers’ comp benefits. If your accident forces you to miss at least five work shifts, then your employer must also notify the WCC.
- If approved, your employer’s insurer pays all related medical bills directly to your healthcare provider.
- Once your injury makes you miss at least five days of work, you may qualify for lost-wage benefits. Those first five days are considered unpaid PTO until you miss at least 14 days total due to your injury. After that, you’ll get partial disability payments once every two weeks until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
- Claim denied? Contact your employer’s insurer first to try and resolve your dispute. Need more help appealing your claim’s denial? Contact the WCC to request mediation or an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing within 20 days.
We realize all Mississippi workers’ compensation claims are unique, so your own process may vary.
Answers to Other Commonly Asked Workers’ Comp Questions
Still have questions about Mississippi workers’ compensation? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:
- All WCC buildings are currently closed to the public through March 12, 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. If you have an appeals case scheduled before then, an ALJ will hear your case over the phone.
- The most money you can receive in lost-wage benefits for 2021 is $523.16 per week. In most cases, lost-wage workers’ comp payments total 2/3 the Average Weekly Wage set by the WCC on January 1.
- All Mississippi workers’ compensation claimants must undergo Covid-19 testing prior to receiving medical treatment. You will not have to pay for this test yourself, provided your employer’s insurer approves your claim.
- Your employer can request that you attend an independent medical exam (IME) to confirm your injury or diagnosis. If this happens and you skip that appointment, you may lose your right to receive Mississippi workers’ comp payments. The WCC requires in-person medical exams at this time and cannot authorize “virtual” IMEs conducted online or over the phone.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Most people don’t need help from a workers’ compensation attorney to collect their benefits. However, a recent WCC annual report shows insurance providers denied claims from nearly 1 in 4 applicants (24%) in 2019. Did you know your employer can force you to take a drug and alcohol test on the spot after a workplace accident? If you fail, then your employer’s insurer will automatically deny your application for benefits. Pre-existing medical conditions are another major reason for denied workers’ comp claims in Mississippi.
Why not sign up for a phone call with a Mississippi workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your case? It’s an easy way to get free legal advice over the phone without ever leaving your house. This free phone call doesn’t obligate you to do anything else and any advice you get is completely confidential.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.