Have you been injured on the job and unsure of what to do next? A workplace accident can leave you with insurmountable medical bills and lost wages, but you might be eligible for workers’ compensation from your employer. Each state has its own laws governing workers’ compensation and workplace injuries, so it’s important to understand what benefits and coverage you’re legally entitled to receive in your state.
Our experienced workplace injury lawyer at Wood Injury Law assists clients in New Mexico with the workers’ compensation process. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case to determine whether you have a claim. If you are not eligible for workers’ compensation or a third party is at fault, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. Then you can take the necessary steps needed to recover compensation for your injury.
Continue reading to learn more about workplace injuries and the workers’ compensation process in New Mexico.
You might be wondering what types of injuries qualify as a workplace injury. Below are common accidents that workers’ compensation may cover:
- Slips and falls
- Fires and explosions
- Being hit by falling objects
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Accidents involving machinery
Long-term consequences, including death, can result from these injuries. If you have suffered from one of these injuries, consult with our workplace injury lawyer to determine whether you are eligible for additional compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Laws in New Mexico
Employers with more than three employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage. However, there are some exceptions.
What does workers’ compensation insurance cover?
- Payment for medical services. Workers’ compensation insurance will cover the cost of medical care for an injured worker.
- Payment of a temporary wage replacement in the event of job loss. If a worker is unable to work and earn pay for seven days in a row, or if the worker continues to work at a lower rate of pay, temporary disability benefits provide some financial relief while the worker is unable to work or until the worker’s medical condition improves.
- Compensation for permanent injury. If a worker is permanently injured, they receive disability payments for an extended period.
What are a worker’s responsibilities after a workplace accident?
Here are some of the initial steps the injured worker needs to follow after experiencing a workplace accident. Because employers and insurance claims adjusters will look for reasons to dispute or deny a claim, it is essential to enlist the assistance of a workers comp attorney to protect your rights.
- Seek any necessary medical attention.
- Notify your employer or supervisor in writing within 15 days of discovering that your job injury is related to your job. If your injury or another unforeseen circumstance prevents you from providing notice within 15 days, the period may be extended to 60 days.
- The New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration (WCA) requires employers to post and provide employees with a standard Notice of Accident form. When an employer has actual knowledge of an injury, the written notice requirement is waived. This usually happens when an employer, supervisor, or foreman witnessed the accident.
What workers’ compensation benefits are available for workplace injuries?
- Medical Care. The workers’ compensation insurer pays for the worker’s necessary medical treatment to recover from a work-related injury. Medical care includes visits to a healthcare provider, tests, medications, medical equipment, and other treatment services and expenses, including mileage.
- Temporary Disability Insurance. With a doctor’s approval, workers should return to work as soon as medically possible. They are compensated for their lost wages if they cannot return to their pre-injury wage because of a work-related illness or injury
- Permanent Disability Compensation. If a worker suffers a permanent physical or mental function loss due to an injury, they may be eligible for these indemnity benefits.
- Death Benefits. Death benefits are available if a worker dies within two years of an accidental workplace injury. Payments are made to eligible dependents, such as a spouse and children, when a worker dies from a work-related illness or injury.
What to Do When Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied
In New Mexico, the WCA is responsible for overseeing workers’ compensation arrangements in the state and administering any appeals if there is dissatisfaction with a claim. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you can try to appeal the decision on your claim if you believe the reason for denial is invalid. Your denial might be due to an employer dispute because they believe the circumstances or your actions disqualify you. You may need the assistance of a workplace injury lawyer to appeal your case.
The following are examples of why a workers’ comp claim may be denied:
- You did not file your claim within the required time.
- Your employer disputes your claim because it happened outside of work or you broke the rules.
- Your injury is not eligible for compensation.
- You did not receive medical treatment.
When you receive a letter of denial, you can appeal the decision within the state’s required time limit. If the appeal goes before a judge, a skilled workers’ comp lawyer can help you handle the process. With their knowledge of the state’s workers’ compensation laws, your attorney will help you gather evidence and form an argument for a successful appeal.
If a third party was at fault for your workplace injury, you might also have a personal injury case. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with providing proof and negotiating compensation from the third party’s insurance provider.
Get Help from a Skilled Workers’ Compensation Law Firm in New Mexico
At Wood Injury Law, our goal is to help you receive compensation for your personal or workplace injuries. Josh Wood is an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who previously worked as an insurance defense lawyer. He knows how the system works on the other side of the aisle and will fight for your rights.
Wood Injury Law serves clients in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Mesa, Arizona. Call us at 505-605-2717 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with our experienced workers’ comp lawyer.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.