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Top 7 Workers’ Compensation Questions

Whether you are an employee or an employer in Albuquerque, it is important to understand how workers’ compensation laws work in New Mexico. For employers, workers’ compensation helps protect your business in the event employees are hurt while on the job. This can include injuries sustained from operating equipment required for their daily tasks, or involvement in an accident while making deliveries for your company. Here are 7 of the most frequently asked workers’ compensation insurance questions and what you can do if you are hurt on the job and having difficulty securing benefits.

  1. What is workers’ compensation?
    Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance employers can secure to protect their businesses and their employees. It protects against financial loss for both employer and employee should an employee get hurt on the job or become ill due to a work-related cause. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, work-related injuries are up by 2 percent. The total number of employer-reported injury and illness rate was 2.8 cases per 100 employees in the most recent data from BLS. Having adequate workers’ compensation insurance coverage is a must.
  2. What does worker’s compensation cover?
    When an employee is injured on the job or suffers a work-related illness, workers’ compensation can cover the costs of medical expenses, lost wages, and any costs associated with ongoing care and recovery. In the event an employee is killed on the job, workers’ compensation covers funeral expenses and may cover any damages from a lawsuit if the employees’ surviving family members pursue legal action.
  3. What is not covered by workers’ compensation insurance?
    Some situations would not be covered by workers’ compensation insurance and vary by state. Injuries sustained from a fight that was instigated by the employee are not covered by most workers’ compensation insurance plans. If an employee is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs while on the job, any injuries they suffer due to their altered state are not included in workers’ compensation coverage.
  4. Who pays for workers’ compensation benefits?
    In New Mexico, every employer with three or more employees must provide workers’ compensation coverage to employees. There are some exemptions:

    – Workers with employers licensed under the New Mexico Construction Industries Licensing Act.
    – Household workers
    – Real estate agents
    – Agricultural laborers

    Workers’ compensation insurance coverage costs depend on the unique risks of each business. The size of the business, the type of work employees performs, and state laws all factor into the total cost of workers’ compensation insurance. Employees are not responsible for paying for workers’ compensation benefits. The employer must cover all costs associated with workers’ compensation.
  5. What should employees do if they are hurt on the job?
    The first thing an employee should do if they are hurt on the job or suffer a work-related illness is to notify their supervisor as soon as possible. The report should include the date, time, and description of how the injury happened. New Mexico law requires employees who are injured on the job or who suffer a work-related illness to notify their employer within 15 days. If circumstances prevent notification within that period, it may be extended to 60 days. An example would be if an injury is serious enough to hospitalize the employee with injuries that prevented communication with their employer.
  6. How do you file a workers’ compensation claim?
    Employers have a responsibility to file a workers’ compensation claim with their insurance provider as soon as an employee reports a work-related illness or injury. Depending on the type of injury, the employee may require immediate medical attention, which can include calling an ambulance or providing them with transportation to a hospital or medical provider. If an injury or illness requires time off from work, an employer will need to approve it as paid time off. Employers must gather certain information necessary for filing a workers’ compensation claim. It can include (but is not limited to) details of the incident and personal information about the employee who was injured.
  7. What if workers’ compensation does not cover all the costs associated with the illness or injury?
    Sometimes workers’ compensation insurance coverage is inadequate or limited. Other times, the ongoing treatment required for recovery exceeds the coverage. For workers who suffer a permanent disability that prevents them from returning to work, additional compensation may be necessary. When the workers’ compensation insurance coverage is insufficient, workers have the option of filing a third-party negligence lawsuit to recover the additional costs associated with their illness or injury.  Consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable in workers’ compensation insurance law is the best course of action. Bill Russell has extensive experience in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases and can work with employees to ensure they get the compensation they deserve. Reach out to him today to schedule your no-obligation consultation.

April 26, 2021