Medical Treatment After A Workers Comp Injury
The state of Mississippi has recently intensified its focus on workplace safety, which has, in turn, benefitted workers in the state. Since 1994, when more than 20,000 workers’ comp injury claims were reported annually, now there are just over 11,000 workers’ comp injury claims reported each year. Perhaps another reason this decrease in injury claims has occurred is that there has been a shift from manufacturing and construction jobs to information-based and service-oriented jobs in the state. While almost 90 percent of all Mississippi workers’ comp claims are settled between the employer and the worker without the necessity of a hearing, either party may file a petition in order to be heard by an administrative law judge who will rule on the claim.
If you have been injured while at work, it is critical that you seek immediate medical attention and that you report that injury within thirty days of the accident which was responsible for your injuries. If you fail to notify your employer within this time frame, your benefits could be delayed or even denied. Once you notify your employer of your injury or illness, the employer has two years in which to notify the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission, and will also notify the insurance carrier.
If your employer fails to file your claim within two years, you may be denied medical disability and wage replacement benefits. Unfortunately, uncooperative bosses are more common than we’d like to believe—just one more reason to speak to an experienced Mississippi workers’ comp attorney. Make sure you let your treating physician known your injury is work-related—this can be an extremely important step if your workers’ comp benefits are contested.
Most workers in the state of Mississippi are covered under workers’ compensation laws, however there are certain exceptions. Employers with fewer than five employees are not required, under law, to maintain workers’ compensation coverage, but may do so voluntarily. Employees of not profit, charitable, religious or cultural organizations or those who provide domestic and farm labor are not covered under workers compensation laws. Independent contractors are also usually excluded from workers’ compensation coverage. Any injury or illness which happens on the job is covered under workers’ compensation, and workers are covered from the time employment begins, with no waiting period or minimum earnings required.
What Medical Expenses are Covered?
In addition to providing wage benefits to injured workers, the injured worker is entitled to any reasonable and necessary medical services required in order to treat the injury and achieve maximum “cure.” These services include physician and hospital services, prescription medication, physical therapy, and any other apparatus or medical service deemed necessary. Mileage reimbursement for trips to the doctor, hospital or rehabilitative therapy are also included. In some cases, rehabilitation services which could assist the worker in returning to his or her employment may also be provided.
Injured workers are allowed to select one physician or medical provider of their choice for treatment. This provider may, in turn, make one referral to another specialist, without approval from the insurance carrier or employer. Additional referrals and/or selections require approval from the employer and/or insurance carrier. There is no deductible involved for injured workers—all medical treatments and benefits are provided at no cost to the employee. Payments are made through the employer or the insurance company, rather than through the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Medical benefits are not tied to the number of missed work days. It is beneficial in most cases following a work injury, to speak to a knowledgeable Mississippi workers’ compensation attorney who can ensure your future is properly protected.
If you or someone you love has been injured on the job, it is important to understand your legal rights and how to collect all of your worker's compensation benefits. It is also important to ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines for filing third party claims. At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys fight aggressively for injured employees and their families – to ensure that they receive the money they need to fully recover. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at (601) 265-7766 or (601) 265-7766.
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