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What exactly is an injury under the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act?


What exactly is an injury under the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Act?

§ 71-3-3. Definitions

(b) “Injury” means accidental injury or accidental death arising out of and in the course of employment without regard to fault which results from an untoward event or events, if contributed to or aggravated or accelerated by the employment in a significant manner. Untoward event includes events causing unexpected results. An untoward event or events shall not be presumed to have arisen out of and in the course of employment, except in the case of an employee found dead in the course of employment. This definition includes injuries to artificial members, and also includes an injury caused by the willful act of a third person directed against an employee because of his employment while so employed and working on the job, and disability or death due to exposure to ionizing radiation from any process in employment involving the use of or direct contact with radium or radioactive substances with the use of or direct exposure to roentgen (X-rays) or ionizing radiation. In radiation cases only, the date of disablement shall be treated as the date of the accident. Occupational diseases, or the aggravation thereof, are excluded from the term “injury,” provided that, except as otherwise specified, all provisions of this chapter apply equally to occupational diseases as well as injury.

That is a pretty long definition that needs some explanation. The first important phrase is “course and scope of employment.” This does NOT mean on the clock. For example, you may be in the parking lot on the way to or from work and not be clocked in yet, but the injury is still in the course and scope of employment because you had to be there to get your work done. Or you may be a traveling salesperson and have a car wreck on you way home from the last stop for the day. Traveling employees are usually covered from the time they leave home or headquarters until the time they return. On the other hand, if you are engaged in horseplay at work or are having a lover’s quarrel that results in an injury while at work, the law would probably view that as not in the scope of employment.

Another important concept is that aggravation or acceleration of a pre-existing injury is still covered. I will discuss later how that pre-existing condition factors into compensation, but for now, what matters is that it still counts as a compensable injury. Injuries involving acts of other people may also be covered. For instance, if you work in a bank and it gets robbed causing you harm, this would probably fit within the definition of injury.

Rogen K. Chhabra

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