Workers’ Compensation Benefits and the Exclusive Remedy

Posted on : November 2, 2015, By:  Mike Saltaformaggio

In Mississippi, injured workers are typically limited in their recovery by what is referred to as the “Exclusive Remedy” doctrine.  Simply put, if a Mississippi worker is injured on the job, he or she may be limited to only recovering workers’ compensation benefits, i.e. medical payments and indemnity benefits from their employer.  While this is true, there are exceptions.  These exceptions include injuries that occur due to the negligence of a third party, and not by the individual’s employer.  In this given scenario, the injured worker could make both a workers’ compensation claim, and, importantly, still pursue benefits in State court against the third party.  This is critical for a couple of reasons, but primarily because in workers’ compensation you are limited in your recovery and cannot recover pain and suffering.  This makes your workers’ compensation claim much less valuable compared to a civil action against a third party.

As an example, just last week a Madison County Sheriff Deputy was injured while directing traffic with his flashlight.   The article can be found here: http://www.msnewsnow.com/story/30398623/madison-county-sheriff-deputy-hit-by-truck.  It appears he was on duty, so he will be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim.  He will also have a claim against the third party, which is the driver of the pickup that hit him.  So, should he decide to do so, he will file his workers’ compensation claim with his Employer.  They will in-turn pay for reasonable and related medical bills and treatment, along with a percentage of his salary or wage while off of work, if any.   His employer, or its insurance company, will then have a subrogation, or offset, against any proceeds paid to the injured worker that are recovered in the third party action.  The officer may also have a claim to UM/UIM benefits under his personal automobile policy.  This is especially important, as any recovery from his own insurance company would not have to be repaid to his Employer.  These claims can be extremely valuable, but complex given the circumstances.  Even if you are unsure whether to hire a lawyer, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure that the proper claims are made, and that the proper parties are involved.

If you are someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident or suffered a work related injury, contact the injured lawyers of ‘Maggio | Thompson, LLP at 601-300-3333 for a free case consultation.

 

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