After engaging in a work-related accident, one of the first questions you might ask yourself is “is my injury going to be covered by my employer’s workers’ compensation insurance?” The reason many individuals are concerned about this is because most construction accidents result in serious injuries that require a significant amount of medical treatment, which can be costly to anyone. Aside from that, many victims also find themselves out of work and unable to provide financially for their family.
With workers’ compensation insurance benefits, however, not only would your medical bills be paid for by your employer’s insurance, but you would also receive a portion of the amount of income you were bringing in. Although these benefits won’t change the fact that you suffered an injury, they can make the recovery period easier for you and your family. So, the question remains, are you eligible to receive these benefits or not?
According to the State of New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration, the law “requires coverage for all employees engaged in construction activities.” An employer who is licensed under the provision of the Construction Industries Licensing Act must purchase adequate workers’ compensation insurance coverage despite the number of employees they hire. And for the businesses that are not located in the state of NM but engage in work that requires them to be licensed, they too must purchase workers’ compensation coverage.
Essentially, this means that if you are employed by a construction company in Albuquerque, NM and are not an independent contractor, your employer should provide you with workers’ compensation benefits.
How common are work-related accidents in New Mexico?
Did you know that New Mexico has been considered one of the most dangerous places to work in the U.S.? According to data from 2016, NM “ranks No. 36 nationally when it comes to the rate of fatalities per 100,000 workers” [Source: Albuquerque Journal]. In fact, Robert Genoway, who is the head of New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau, says that on an annual basis, between 35 and 55 workers are killed in the state. Some of the most dangerous fields for workers in New Mexico include the construction and oil/gas industries.
The Albuquerque Journal went on to highlight some fatal incidents that have occurred in the past which contributed to the increase in fatal injuries the New Mexico workforce has been seeing. In one incident, an employee working at a wastewater treatment plant stepped on an unstable grate causing him to either fall into or get sucked into a well that was filled with sludge. That slip led to him suffocating.
Another worker who was employed by a trucking company was killed while he was searching for tie-down straps. The source said that he climbed on top of three steel structures that had been stacked on top of one another and the stack collapsed. That worker’s “chest was crushed by 800 pounds of steel.” The final accident that was shared involved a construction worker who had been operating an excavator. He was working on a project with a goal of demolishing a concrete overpass. Unfortunately, while working, this employee’s radio fell onto the floor of the vehicle and as he attempted to get it, the “wire of the receiver became entangled with the excavator’s joystick.” The vehicle then spun out of control and fell off the overpass.
Although these accidents are some of the more serious ones, the point is, many construction workers suffer from unfortunate injuries while trying to make a living for their family. And because most of the individuals who are employed in the construction industry are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, it is important that they begin receiving the benefits they need immediately. So, if you have been involved in a construction accident in Albuquerque and either have questions regarding getting your benefits or what to do if your employer is claiming you aren’t covered, contact the Law Office of Brian K. Branch.
NM construction accident attorney Brian K. Branch is a qualified and skilled lawyer in Albuquerque who understands the laws pertaining to workers’ compensation and can help you understand the claims process and how long it will take before you receive your first check. He can also validate whether your employer is handling your matter appropriately. Therefore, if you would like to schedule a consultation with our firm, simply call us at 505-207-4401 and we will be happy to provide you with a time that fits into your schedule.