If you were injured at work or suffered an occupational illness in Mississippi, you may get workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits provide important financial assistance and medical treatment while you recover from your injuries. However, you must follow certain procedures in order to collect workers’ comp—including reporting your injury to your employer within a certain time frame.
Mississippi has a no-fault workers’ compensation system. You do not need to show that your employer acted carelessly in order to receive benefits. As long as your injury happened on the job or was caused by your work activities, you will typically be eligible for benefits.
Legally, most employers must have workers’ compensation coverage. A company can either purchase a workers’ comp policy from a private insurance company or become certified by the state as a self-insured employer. Self-insured employers are financially responsible for workers’ comp claims. In general, only large, financially stable employers will qualify to self-insure.
The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission oversees all workers’ comp claims in the state. However, your employer’s insurance company or claims administrator will process your initial claim. The Commission only becomes involved when a claim is disputed.
If you are eligible for workers’ comp benefits, you may receive:
Every claim is different. Your eligibility will depend on the severity of your injuries and the facts of your claim. For more information, see How Much in Workers' Compensation Benefits Will You Get?.
Reporting your injury is always the first step in a Mississippi workers’ compensation claim. You simply are not entitled to benefits unless you notify your employer. In Mississippi, you should notify your employer of a work-related injury within 30 days. While oral notice is permitted, it is in your best interest to give notice in writing.
While you have 30 days to report an injury, you should provide notice and get medical treatment as quickly as possible. Employers and insurance companies are skeptical of delayed claims and tend to deny them. Giving notice and getting treatment early on will reduce the likelihood of a claim denial.
When you notify your employer, provide as much detail as possible, including:
Your employer should then authorize necessary medical treatment. It is important to provide your employer and doctor with accurate information about the cause of your injuries and the severity of your symptoms. Insurance companies rely heavily on initial accident reports and medical records when they evaluate claims. Either downplaying or exaggerating your symptoms may result in a denial of benefits.
Once you notify your employer of an injury, it must file a claim with its insurance company. If your claim involves death, permanent disability, or wage loss, your employer must also notify the Commission. Next, the insurance company will investigate your workers’ comp claim and determine your eligibility for benefits.
The insurance company’s investigation may involve:
The insurance company must either approve or deny your workers’ compensation benefits promptly. If your claim is approved, you will receive a Notice of Payment and start receiving benefits. If the claim is disputed, the insurance company typically will issue a Notice of Controversion within 14 days of receiving your claim.
If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal. To begin the process, you must file a Petition to Controvert with the Commission. The filing deadline varies, depending on whether the insurance company initially paid your workers’ comp benefits. If benefits were never paid, you must file an appeal within two years of your injury. If benefits were paid, you must appeal within one year of the insurance company’s Notice of Final Payment. If you do not meet these filing deadlines, your appeal typically will be denied.
Unless your claim is very simple, you should also consider hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer. The insurance company will have a lawyer and you may be at a disadvantage if you proceed without an attorney. To learn more, see Should I Hire a Workers' Comp Attorney or Can I Handle My Own Case?