What Type Of Benefits Am I Entitled To After My Work Injury?
Indemnity benefits are commonly referred to as "comp checks." These are the monetary benefits the insurance company is required to pay you if you have a work injury and the doctor has you off work. When you are completely off of work as a result of your work injury, you are temporarily and totally disabled entitling you to TTD benefits. These benefits last as long as your doctor either has you completely off of work or on restrictions that your employer simply can't or won't accommodate.
How much will your TTD benefits be? That depends. Mississippi law requires the injured worker be paid a percentage of his or her average weekly wage (AWW) while off of work subject to a weekly maximum. This is where the math of workers' compensation comes into play. You are entitled to 66 and 2/3 percent of your AWW. For instance, if your AWW is $400 a week, the insurance company is required to pay you $266.67 a week while you are off of work. Usually these benefits are paid bi-weekly, which means in the previous example your TTD check would be $533.34 every two weeks.
Remember, there is a weekly maximum. If 66 and 2/3 percent of your AWW is greater than the weekly maximum, then you only get the maximum allowed for that year. That figure is set each year and increases only slightly. For instance, if you are injured in 2016, the weekly maximum is $468.63. This means that if your AWW is high, you may not actually receive 66 and 2/3 percent because you might be capped at the weekly maximum.
Once your doctor releases you to return to work and/or determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement, then you are no longer temporarily and totally disabled and will no longer receive TTD checks. Depending upon the facts of your claim, you might be entitled to what is known as permanent partial disability benefits or PPD for short. PPD will be covered more in depth in another post coming soon,
The other main benefit afforded to you by the workers' compensation law in Mississippi is having your medical treatment covered by the insurance company. This is one of the biggest benefits to the injured worker. If you get hurt on the job and there are no defenses to the claim, then your medical treatment will be provided to you at no cost.
There are limits, however, to medical benefits. All medical treatment must be reasonable, necessary and causally related to the work injury. What does that mean? Reasonable and necessary is fairly straightforward: the treatment must be generally accepted as a method to treat the underlying issue. Casually related? This can be tricky. The treatment must be related to the work injury. Sometimes pre-existing conditions could also contribute to the need for a certain recommended procedure. There could also be disputes between doctors on what is or is not related. This is generally where you will need the help of an experienced firm.
Medical treatment generally lasts until the doctor determines you have reached maximum medical improvement. Certain treatment may last longer depending upon the circumstances and your doctor.
Medical benefits are not for life. Most settlements include a complete closure of the claim including medical benefits. The only way to guarantee medical benefits will continue into the future is by taking your claim all the way to a hearing before an administrative judge and having him or her decide the case. If the case goes your way, medical benefits will continue into the future provided the insurance carrier does not take advantage of the applicable one-year statute of limitations. The same preconditions apply to post hearing treatment as well: the treatment must be reasonable, necessary and causally related.
If you get hurt, you are entitled to medical treatment and, in many situations, indemnity benefits. The discussion above is general in nature. The workers' compensation law in Mississippi has many pitfalls and areas of concern for injured workers. Having an experienced attorney help guide you through the process is more often than not essential to achieving the best results.