A work injury can cause major disruptions to your life—not only your health, but also to your career, finances, and overall well-being. The Mississippi workers’ compensation system is designed to compensate you for some of those losses and get you back to work as soon as possible. However, worker’s comp also limits the amount of money you can receive from your employer. This article explains the types and amounts of benefits that are available through workers’ comp. (To get these benefits, you will need to file a Mississippi workers’ compensation claim.)
In Mississippi, temporary total disability benefits are paid when an employee needs time off work while being treated for a work injury. The first seven days of missed work are not paid unless you need more than six weeks off work.
Benefits for temporary total disability are two-thirds of your average weekly wage. However, you cannot receive more than a maximum amount set by law each year. For 2017, the maximum weekly benefit is $477.82 per week. These benefits are capped at 450 weeks or a total payment of $215,019 (in 2017). (These maximums are updated each year; you can find a list of annual maximums at the website of the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission.)
If you’re able to work during this time, but you are earning less due to your injury, you can receive temporary partial disability benefits. These benefits are two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury wages.
When your condition is no longer expected to improve significantly, your doctor will evaluate you for a permanent disability. If you are found to be permanently and totally disabled, you will continue to receive weekly payments at your temporary total rate for as long as you are disabled. The same maximums that apply to temporary total disability benefits apply to permanent total disability benefits.
The permanent and total disability category is reserved for workers with serious injuries that leave them unable to hold any type of gainful employment. This includes the loss of both hands, arms, feet, legs, or eyes—or a combination of any two of those—as well as other disabilities on a case-by-case basis.
If you have a permanent impairment but are not totally disabled, you may be eligible for a permanent partial disability award. Mississippi has two types of permanent partial awards: scheduled and unscheduled.
Mississippi workers’ comp pays for a permanent loss of use of certain body parts—such as an arm, leg, hand, foot, finger, toe, breast, testicle, and eye. The award is two-thirds of your average weekly wage (subject to the state maximum), for a number of weeks determined by a state schedule. For example, the schedule lists a total loss of use of an eye at 100 weeks. If you have a partial loss of use of that body part, you will receive a proportionate number of weeks. For example, a 50% loss of use of an eye is worth 50 weeks of payment (50% of 100 weeks).
For other types of permanent impairment, you will only receive an award if you have a decrease in earning capacity. The amount is two-thirds of the difference between your wages before your injury and what you’re able to earn now. These benefits are paid for a maximum of 450 weeks.
The Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission may also make a one-time award of up to $5,000 for serious disfigurement to the head or face.
Mississippi workers’ compensation also provides additional benefits, including:
As you can see, workers’ compensation only pays of a portion of your lost wages. Workers’ comp also does not pay anything for the pain and suffering caused by your injury. While this may seem unfair, it is part of the trade-off that is the workers’ comp system. The advantage of workers’ comp is that you can get benefits relatively quickly without needing to file a lawsuit or prove that your employer was at fault for causing your injury. The downside is that you can’t get the full value of your losses. (However, in some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover pain and suffering and other losses. To learn more, see our article on suing outside of the workers’ comp system.)