What is a “Disability” under the Workers Compensation Act?
Miss. Code Ann. § 71-3-3 (i) states that “Disability” means incapacity because of injury to earn the wages which the employee was receiving at the time of injury in the same or other employment, which incapacity and the extent thereof must be supported by medical findings.
There are two types of disability: temporary and permanent. There are also different levels for each: Partial or Total.
Temporary disability in plain English means that you are unable to do your job while you are treating. You may be completely unable to work at all or you may be able to work with an accommodation of your restrictions. If you are suffering temporary wage loss (total or partial) as a result of a work injury, you are entitled to 2/3rds of the difference up to the state maximum for the year of your injury. Most people call these benefits “workers comp checks.” Be careful though. Sometimes, the correct amount of the benefit is subject to interpretation. It is advised to contact a lawyer if you are getting these benefits to make sure they are for the correct amount. Most lawyers will tell you for free.
Permanent disability means that you are unable to do your job permanently even after treatment is completed. The Workers Compensation Act uses a formula that accounts for what you used to make and compares it to your wage earning capacity after the release by the doctor. Some people go back to work with no restrictions. This would result in an award for little to no wage loss. In other words that end settlement of the case would not have much value. On the other hand, some people cannot return to any previous employment. If this is supported by a credible doctor’s opinion, and if it is supported by a job search or credible attempt to find employment within the restrictions then the case has high value. If you can go back to work in a limited capacity but are not capable of making your pre injury wages, then the permanent disability aspect of the case will have value accordingly, but it will be only a permanent partial disability. This is the category that most significant injuries will fall into.
If you or a loved one has been injured at work, don’t wait until it’s too late to find out how these terms apply to the case. Call our office at 601-948-8005 for a free and confidential consultation to find out what your rights are.