New Mexico employers are required to provide to their employees a reasonably safe and healthy work environment. Sometimes employers fail to fulfill this duty, and employees are injured as a result. Occasionally, employees are injured on the job even when every effort has been made to make a workplace safe. Injuries can include broken bones, aggravations of pre-existing conditions, occupational illnesses, psychological issues, and more.
If you’re injured at work, it can be confusing to know what to do next, or how to balance all the factors that result from such an event. You can be facing stress due to post-trauma from the accident, you could be worried about medical test results, medical bills, missing work, and all the other life implications that come with accidents and serious injuries.
The good news is that you’re not alone. As a personal injury law firm dedicated to your total well-being and best possible results, we want to make this time as clear and stress-free as possible. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to practical next steps to take when you or a loved one has been injured on the job in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Taking the right steps towards getting the compensation you deserve starts with understanding your rights. You are protected by the law to receive compensation for injuries that happened because of another person’s negligence.
1. See a doctor – you have the right to seek immediate medical care after your injuries, and pursue any long-term treatments prescribed by your doctor, even if it means missing work.
2. Report your injuries – and doctor’s diagnosis if possible – to your employer right away. You have 15 days to notify your employer of work-connected injuries, according to Worker’s Comp New Mexico. This period can sometimes be extended if your injuries or other forces prevent you from reporting sooner.
3. File a claim for your injury or illness in workers compensation court or the state industrial court. According to Disability Secrets, private employers in New Mexico with three or more regular employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Most employees at covered businesses are covered by workers’ comp, with a few exceptions. For example, workers’ comp in New Mexico does not cover farm workers, domestic workers, casual employees, or real estate salespersons who are paid on commission. Workers’ compensation covers all injuries or illnesses that happen in the course and scope of employment, including slip and fall accidents and illnesses developed over time. The workers’ compensation system in New Mexico is a no-fault system that compensates injured workers for medical bills, lost wages, and permanent impairments resulting from their injuries.
4. It’s okay to say no. If you are injured and your employer encourages you to use your own health insurance to pay for your medical treatment, you have the right to say, “no.” It’s illegal for your boss to attempt to persuade you or incentivize you against filing a workers compensation claim.
5. Pursue a third-party claim, if needed. Sometimes work injuries are caused by the negligence of a third party. This other person or entity may be a designer or manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment or perhaps the driver of a delivery truck. You may have the right to file a “third party claim.” Typically, these claims are not filed in the workers’ compensation universe. Rather, they take the form of civil lawsuits and are filed in state or federal courts.
6. File for temporary disability if you need time off from work to recover.
7. Go back to work without worry. If your physician releases you to return to work, you have the right to do so! According to Nolo, New Mexico law allows you to pursue a workers’ compensation claim without fear of reprisal or harassment from your employer. It is illegal for your boss or supervisor to harass you at work or otherwise make it difficult for you to do your job because you filed a worker’s compensation claim.
8. Claim permanent disability compensation if needed. If you are permanently unable to return to work – or unable to regain your full working capacity – because of your injury or illness, you have the right to some type of disability compensation.
9. Appeal any decision made by your employer, your employer’s insurance company, or the workers’ compensation court that you disagree with.
10. Utilize your right to be represented by an attorney throughout the process.
Don’t give up! Even if your claim is initially denied, an experienced personal injury lawyer can fight to achieve justice for you! You deserve it! Call 505.764.9710 or contact us online!
Law Office of Brian K Branch
715 Marquette Ave. NW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102
Toll Free: 888.972.1212