Workers’ Compensation and Third Party Claims

In 2014, in the state of Mississippi, there were 11,003 workers’ compensation claims which caused workers to miss at least five days of work. Females reported fewer claims in the state than males (40.1 percent as compared to 59.9 percent). More workers’ comp claims were filed in Mississippi in the month of October than in any other month and on Tuesdays than on any other day of the week. Many Americans are woefully uninformed regarding workers’ compensation claims, particularly in relation to third party claims. Consider the following two scenarios:

  • You are on the job as a driver for a major package delivery company, sitting in traffic, waiting for the traffic light to change. A truck rear-ends you, causing neck and back injuries. Your injuries are severe enough to prevent you from returning to work for at least a few weeks. Since you were injured while on the job, you can file a workers’ compensation claim which will cover your medical expenses as well as provide temporary disability benefits while you are unable to work. This sounds well and good, however it is unlikely your workers’ comp benefits will provide you a comparable salary—in general you will receive 60 percent or 2/3rds of your normal salary. This can be devastating for most all working families who live paycheck to paycheck. In this particular instance, you may also be able to make a third-party personal injury claim outside the workers’ compensation system, seeking compensation for your injuries and lost wages.

  • You are on the job at the factory where you have worked for more than a decade. While working on a particular piece of machinery, you are injured seriously enough to result in significant medical expenses and you are expected to be off work for at least several months. Since you were injured on the job, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits and will receive medical expenses and temporary disability benefits—again, these benefits will be approximately 2/3rds of your normal salary. If it is later found the machine had a design flaw which caused your injury, you may be able to file a third-party claim against the manufacturer of the machine in order to seek compensation for your injuries and lost wages.

An experienced Mississippi workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you in formulating a strategy for your case which will allow you to rightfully recover for your injuries and lost wages from both the third party and your employer. Any time a person is injured in a work-related accident, which is caused either in part or in whole by the negligence, intentional action or reckless behavior of an outside person or company, a third-party claim may be warranted. Such a claim allows you to recover damages and wages not covered by workers’ compensation, and may even compensate for emotional trauma or the loss of a normal day-to-day life. If a third party was wholly responsible for your injuries, your employer may also be able to seek compensation from the third party in order to recover the workers’ compensation benefits paid to you.

Mississippi workers’ compensation is a no-fault system—meaning you aren’t required to prove negligence in order to receive benefits under the system, only that you were on the job and you were injured. A third-party claim, on the other hand, requires proof of negligence by a person or entity. If a person caused your accident it must be shown that person was acting in an unreasonable manner, or failed to take a reasonable action, that you were injured as a result of this behavior and that your injuries were foreseeable. In the end, it is important to remember that while Workers’ Compensation laws were put into place to assist injured workers, they are also meant to protect employers. It can be very beneficial to have a professional on your side, looking out for your interests.

Contact Our Jackson Worker's Compensation Attorneys

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. 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. If a third party is to blame, we can help you file a third party claim against them. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600 or 1-877-231-1600.

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