And this is a blog dedicated to Mississippi Workers' Compensation
For those of you who attended the MWCEA Conference in Biloxi, I hope the educational conference was of benefit to you. I had a chance to speak with many of you, several who told me they read the blog, and I always enjoy getting a chance to see those of you in the industry. Life is hectic these days and it is always good to have a chance to speak with the people I work alongside in a more relaxed environment. If you have not attended the educational conference before, I strongly urge you to plan to do so in 2020. Reach out to me if you have questions.
Other than the conference, we just had Easter, which is a big day in our home. The Easter Bunny made his way to our house yet again with more chocolate surprises. We also had multiple egg hunts. Sawyer has taken on a more competitive approach of getting as many eggs as humanly possible into his basket while Charlotte liked to open each plastic egg to eat the candy in it before moving on to the next.
Besides Easter egg hunting and conferencing, the Hawkins clan now has a new favorite movie. While Emily Blunt and crew revised the 1964 classic Mary Poppins with Mary Poppins Returns, it is the original version that my kids cannot seem to get enough of. They are quickly learning the words to each song, as they practice each night with strawberry milk and a mixture of popcorn and cookies before bed. Of course, most nights they do so in one of their Halloween costumes. Here is their rendition of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, along with a few Easter pictures:
Words are hard, right? Another concept some employers and carriers have difficulty understanding is the statutory employer. For the purposes of this blog, we will look at the big picture of a what a statutory employer is, and, at a later date, we can take more of a deep dive into other issues within this same topic.
MISS. CODE ANN. § 71-3-7 (6) reads as follows: “in the case of an employer who is a subcontractor, the contractor shall be liable for and shall secure the payment of such compensation to employees of the subcontractor, unless the subcontractor has secured such payment.”
Breaking down the legal jargon in more simple terms, this states that you, the employer/general contractor, are liable for injuries occurring to workers on your job site/premises unless a subcontractor has already secured workers’ compensation insurance covering that injured worker. This term is more commonly used in construction, and is a little easier to understand conceptually in that field and using their terminology.
For example, ABC Construction Company buys a plot of land to build a home. In this scenario, ABC Construction is the general contractor. After finishing the dirt work, ABC Construction hires DEF Framing to perform the duties of framing the home. Prior to performing any work, DEF Framing provides proof of valid workers’ compensation insurance coverage to ABC Construction. When framing the home, John Smith, an employee of DEF Framing is injured. Who is responsible for the payment of the claim?
In this scenario, DEF Framing would be responsible as they provided proof of valid insurance coverage. However, if DEF Framing had no workers’ compensation insurance, then ABC Construction would be considered the statutory employer, and they would be responsible. When a claimant is injured, we always start with the injured claimant’s employer, and work our way “up the line” until you find an employer who had valid workers’ compensation coverage. So if DEF Framing had no insurance coverage, even though they were hired as a subcontractor, any employee injured would fall under the umbrella of the policy held by ABC Construction, and their injury would be covered by the statutory employer, ABC Construction, in this example.
Obviously, injuries are rarely as cut and dry as the example above, and many claims, particularly in the construction field, can become quite convoluted. However, this is a basic example and explanation of how the statutory employer relationship is formed. If you have more complicated scenarios or questions, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.
3/24/2022 12:46:28 pm
Thank you for sharing this experience
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Attorney with Markow Walker in Ridgeland, MS