Injured workers can be of any age, including those under the age of 18. Minors work in many places, most commonly in the fast food industry, and when a minor is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to the same benefits as any other injured worker. There are some differences, however. As you can imagine, when a minor receives a serious injury on the job, leaving him or her totally disabled, it is more difficult to determine wage loss benefits, since the minor has not yet settled on a career or trained for that career.
In some states, if a minor who receives an injury while on the job is rendered permanently and totally disabled, the wage loss benefits for that minor will be calculated at a level high enough to produce the maximum compensation rate. One reason minors are protected in this manner is that typically, minors are receiving lower wages and work fewer hours than adults in the same job. Therefore, if a minor is injured so severely they could never return to any type of work, it would not be fair to base their workers’ comp wage loss benefits on the low, probably minimum wage the minor was earning.
Mississippi Laws for Working Minors
Most states do have certain laws regarding minors and work, usually known as child labor laws. Mississippi considers those under the age of 16 minors for the purpose of employment. In the state of Mississippi, employers who hire minors under the age of 16 are required to keep an employment certificate, issued by the Superintendent of Schools on file. Minors in the state who are over the age of 14 and under the age of 16 may not work in any mill, cannery, manufacturing establishment, factory, or workshop for more than 8 hours a day, or 44 hours per week, and may not work in any of these establishments between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.—with the exception of fruit or vegetable canneries.
That being said, minors over the age of 14 and under the age of 16 must comply with the compulsory school attendance laws in the state. No minor under the age of 14 may be employed in a factory, manufacturing establishment, workshop, mill, or cannery under any circumstances. The state of Mississippi has no break time rules except for minors, and minors are not permitted to perform “dangerous” work.
What if a Minor is Injured in an Occupation They are Prohibited from Working In?
If a minor, despite the above minor labor laws—is injured while working in an occupation or during a time which is prohibited, that minor is nonetheless entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits if they are injured while on the job. A minor who is severely injured on the job (causing a permanent disability) may be entitled to future earning capacity until retirement age—which can be astronomical for a 16-year-old. Some states even allow minors to receive special compensation to discourage employers from placing a young worker in harm’s way or taking advantage of the energy and dexterity of a minor. So, employers who take advantage of minor workers by having them illegally work in a prohibited occupation or during prohibited hours could be unpleasantly surprised at the repercussions should an accident occur.
Mississippi Workers’ Comp Laws
While every state’s workers’ comp laws differ to some extent, in the state of Mississippi, virtually every working person in the state is covered, other than those who work for a business with less than five employees, independent contractors, volunteers, and a few other special circumstances. Coverage for Mississippi workers begins upon employment, with no probationary period or minimum salary requirement for eligibility.
Injuries received at the workplace, as well as illnesses that result from the working environment are covered under Mississippi workers’ comp laws. This means that when a worker is exposed to hazardous substances in the workplace (such as asbestos) which subsequently causes cancer or another illness, then that illness is covered under state workers’ comp laws.
Mississippi workers, including minors, who are injured on the job or develop an illness related to the job environment are eligible for cash disability benefits and medical care. Workers’ comp is considered “no-fault” insurance, however, in exchange for providing prompt benefits to the injured worker, that employee may not sue his or her employer for damages. Some states do allow workers to sue employers for work-related injuries, however, Mississippi is not among those.
Any work-related injury or illness must be reported immediately to an employer or supervisor. In turn, that employer or supervisor will file a report with the Workers’ Comp Commission in the state. Medical expenses including hospital expenses, physician expenses, nursing service expenses, prescription medication expenses, physical therapy expenses, and even mileage payments for travel to see an out-of-town physician are all covered under workers’ comp. Health care providers are paid directly through Mississippi workers’ comp, with no deductible payment required from the employer or injured employee.
Cash disability benefits will be paid directly to the employee (not to exceed 450 weeks) and can be as much as two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly pay. Although employees do not receive their full salary through workers’ comp, the benefits are tax-free.
When a Minor is Injured on the Job in the State of Mississippi
Should a minor in the state of Mississippi find their workers’ comp claim has been denied, the minor and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) should immediately consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney who will work hard to secure the benefits the minor is legally entitled to. In some circumstances, a guardian or conservator will be appointed for the minor who will receive a significant amount of money in workers’ compensation benefits. Typically, the parent of the minor will serve as the minor’s guardian for this purpose. If your child was injured while at work, it could be extremely beneficial to speak to a knowledgeable Mississippi workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Our Jackson Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
If you have been injured on the job in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, you need a law firm on your side that can help you collect all the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to. If your child has been injured in the workplace, it is even more important that you speak to an experienced Jackson workers’ compensation lawyer. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600, (601) 265-7766, or click on the button below.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended for general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.