Mississippi law requires every business with five or more employees to provide workers’ compensation insurance. This policy covers the cost of medical care for workers who are injured on the job.
All companies with five or more regularly employed workers must provide workers’ compensation insurance in Mississippi.
If you have fewer than five employees, workers’ comp coverage isn’t mandatory, but you can provide it voluntarily to provide coverage for workplace injuries and protect your business from liability.
Although the vast majority of Mississippi employees must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, some worker categories are exempt, including:
Although not required to provide workers’ comp protection to the above workers, employers may do so voluntarily.
In most cases, you have to include yourself in your company’s workers’ comp insurance plan. The exceptions are if:
If any of those situations apply, you can still opt to participate in your firm’s workers’ comp policy. This is usually a wise decision since your health insurance provider could deny a claim for an injury that's related to your work, leaving you with expensive medical bills.
Members of a Mississippi LLC are treated the same as sole proprietors and partnerships for workers’ compensation purposes.
To save money on workers' comp insurance, it's important to make sure you classify your employees correctly. Employees with desk jobs or other jobs with a low risk of injury cost less to insure. This also helps you avoid misclassification fines.
In some cases, small business owners can choose to buy pay-as-you-go workers' compensation. This type of workers' comp policy has a low upfront premium, and lets you make payments based on your actual payroll instead of estimated payroll. It's useful for businesses that hire seasonal help or have fluctuating numbers of employees.
Finally, a documented safety program can help lower workers' comp costs. A safer workplace means fewer accidents, which helps keep your premium low.
When an employee is injured on the job or develops an occupational disease, workers' compensation insurance pays for their medical treatment. It also provides disability benefits of up to two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage while they cannot work.
Policies usually include employer's liability insurance, which can help cover legal expenses if an employee blames their employer for an injury. However, the exclusive remedy provision in most workers' comp policies prohibits an employee from suing their employer if they accept workers' comp benefits.
Workers' compensation benefits for injured workers in Mississippi include:
The Mississippi Workers' Compensation Act provides no-fault coverage. That means regardless of who was at fault for the injury, workers won't end up paying for medical services or lose out on wages due to impairment.
Mississippi business owners can compare quotes and purchase a policy from private insurance companies. (Insureon offers this service with its online insurance marketplace.)
If they’re unable to qualify, they can buy it from Mississippi’s assigned risk residual market. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) administers this insurance plan of last resort for high-risk state employers.
Mississippi employers also have the ability to self-insure their workers’ compensation claims. This means they’ll cover their own workers’ comp medical and rehabilitation costs rather than put them through their insurance.
If you fail to offer workers’ comp insurance as mandated by state law, you may face penalties, including a fine of up to $1,000, up to a year in jail, or both. Corporate officers may be forced to pay for an injured employee’s workers’ comp benefit out of their own pockets.
If an employee dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, the surviving spouse and certain dependents may be eligible for death benefits.
In Mississippi, an employer’s workers’ compensation insurer or assigned risk administrator pays benefits at least every 14 days. These benefits may continue for as long as 450 weeks after an employee’s job-related death.
Death benefits are based on a certain percentage of a deceased worker’s average weekly wage, subject to a weekly maximum determined by statute.
Also, an employer or its insurance provider must pay up to $5,000 for funeral expenses, as well as a $1,000 lump sum to the surviving spouse.
A workers’ compensation settlement is an agreement between the parties that will resolve a workers’ compensation claim. This benefits both the employee and the employer. A settlement in a workers’ compensation claim is a full and final resolution.
Settlements aren’t mandatory for employees. However, if the worker has reached maximum medical recovery or will not need additional treatment, they can agree to accept a lump sum in exchange for closing the claim.
All settlements are subject to the approval of the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission (MWCC). A licensed Mississippi attorney must be retained by the employer / carrier to prepare the proper paperwork and present the settlement to the commission.
In the state of Mississippi, employees are required to report workplace injuries within 30 days.
Regardless of whether notice was received, if no payment of compensation (other than medical treatment or burial expenses) is made and no application for benefits is filed with the commission within two years from the date of the injury or death, the right to compensation expires.
If you are ready to explore workers’ comp options for your Mississippi business, start a free online application today to compare quotes from top-rated insurance carriers.