1997 Regular Session
By: Representatives Formby, Johnson, Saucier
House Bill 1337
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 71-3-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT PREEXISTING CONDITIONS DO NOT HAVE TO BE OCCUPATIONALLY DISABLING FOR APPORTIONMENT TO APPLY IN A WORKERS' COMPENSATION CLAIM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 71-3-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
71-3-7. Compensation shall be payable for disability or death of an employee from injury or occupational disease arising out of and in the course of employment, without regard to fault as to the cause of the injury or occupational disease. An occupational disease shall be deemed to arise out of and in the course of employment when there is evidence that there is a direct causal connection between the work performed and the occupational disease.
Where a preexisting physical handicap, disease, or lesion is shown by medical findings to be a material contributing factor in the results following injury, the compensation which, but for this paragraph, would be payable shall be reduced by that proportion which such preexisting physical handicap, disease, or lesion contributed to the production of the results following the injury. The preexisting condition does not have to be occupationally disabling for this apportionment to apply.
(a) Apportionment shall not be applied until the claimant has reached maximum medical recovery.
(b) The employer or carrier does not have the power to determine the date of maximum medical recovery or percentage of apportionment. This must be done by the attorney-referee, subject to review by the commission as the ultimate finder of fact.
(c) After the date the claimant reaches maximum medical recovery, weekly compensation benefits and maximum recovery shall be reduced by that proportion which the preexisting physical handicap, disease, or lesion contributes to the results following injury.
(d) If maximum medical recovery has occurred before the hearing and order of the attorney-referee, credit for excess payments shall be allowed in future payments. Such allowances and method of accomplishment of the same shall be determined by the attorney-referee, subject to review by the commission. However, no actual repayment of such excess shall be made to the employer or carrier.
No compensation shall be payable if the intoxication of the employee was the proximate cause of the injury, or if it was the willful intention of the employee to injure or kill himself or another.
Every employer to whom this chapter applies shall be liable for and shall secure the payment to his employees of the compensation payable under its provisions.
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.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.