CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH AN ALBUQUERQUE WORKPLACE ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR FREE
Regardless of the industry in which you work, workplace accidents are a constant concern for employees and employers alike. From slip-and-falls in corporate offices to defective machinery accidents on construction sites, injuries in the workplace can happen anywhere and at any time. The good news is that if you are injured on the job then, you are likely entitled to compensation. Seeking out an experienced Albuquerque workplace accident lawyer may help you sort out your potential workers’ compensation claim and any third-party personal injury lawsuits as well as help you seek maximum compensation for your accident.
The lawyers at Zinda Law Group have handled numerous workplace injury and death claims on behalf of victims and their surviving beneficiaries. We can help you make sense of your legal possibilities and get your life back on track. If you or a loved one was involved in a workplace accident, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our experienced Albuquerque workplace accident lawyers.
Workplace ACCIDENT STATISTICS
It is estimated that on average, Americans will spend at least a quarter of their lives participating in the workforce, working about 44 hours per week. Given how much time employees spend at their jobs, one's health can be greatly affected by the conditions of your workplace. There are over 800,000 New Mexicans working in full-time jobs. The total fatal injury rate for all New Mexican workers in 2018 was approximately 4.7 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time employees. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that same year there were 41 fatal occupational injuries statewide. Moreover, these deaths and the vast majority of injuries fall disproportionately on high-risk workers in the following industries: transportation and utility services, construction, leisure and hospitality, and lastly retail services. High-risk jobs are those jobs that have twice the national rate of illness and injury.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Workplace Accident
Seek Out Medical Attention Immediately
If you’re hurt, don’t try to “tough it out.” This tactic could not only hinder your physical recovery, but it could also inhibit your ability to recover financial compensation from insurance companies later. If you’re an employee and the accident is serious, regardless of what your supervisor says, call 911 and request that paramedics be dispatched to the scene. Nevertheless, get seen right away at a hospital or other medical facility.
Report the Accident
Next, report the incident to your employer, manager, and human resources department without delay. You should make sure the report is made as soon after the accident as possible. This allows for the reports to better preserve the details of your accident as well as to prevent others from experiencing the same fate. These accident reports will be central to your future workers’ compensation or personal injury claim.
Contact an Attorney
After a report has been filed with your employer, you should contact an experienced lawyer. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years from the date of injury and four years for damage to personal property. Therefore, it is crucial that you find an attorney who will promptly conduct a thorough investigation, duly file your claim, and position your case for an optimal outcome.
File an OSHA Report, If Necessary
Lastly, if you feel that your employer is unlikely to amend the hazardous conditions or will continue operating dangerously, you may also want to file a report with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA will create an additional report of your accident and they will take independent steps to investigate and remedy any breaches in safety code to ensure the health and wellbeing of other employees.
What Legal Recourse Do You Have For Workplace Accidents?
The different remedies available to injured employees greatly depends on the state in which they reside and the size of the business for which they work.
New Mexico imposes strict workers’ compensation insurance rules on employers. Therefore under New Mexico law, businesses with three or more employees are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to all of their employees.
Workers’ compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of their employment in exchange for the mandatory relinquishment of the employee's right to sue his or her employer for negligence. Therefore, if you are injured at work and you work for a business with more than three employees, you most likely cannot sue your employer under a personal injury claim.
In reality, although workers’ compensation provides some level of coverage for medical expenses and lost wages to employees or their beneficiaries hurt on the job, it is not always adequate to cover the extent of damages – both physical and psychological – that they have sustained. The Workers’ Compensation Act often acts as a cap to limit the amount a victim can recover from their insurer, preventing them from receiving fair and complete compensation. Thus, there are a number of rules and issues that you should understand to fully protect your rights to compensation for work-related injuries.
Exceptions to the Exclusive Remedies Provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act
While the vast majority of employees will only recover damages under workers’ compensation, there are some rare exceptions where you may still retain the ability to file a personal injury claim.
Your Employer Doesn’t Carry Sufficient Insurance
Under New Mexico law, the employer is protected against personal injury claims by the worker, even where the employer was negligent or even grossly negligent. However, the protections of New Mexico’s workers’ compensation law only extend to those employers that have regularly maintained workers’ compensation insurance. That means, if your employer failed to continue paying for workers’ compensation insurance prior to your accident, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Another means of suing your employer, despite having workers’ compensation insurance, is through the Delgado exception. The New Mexico Supreme Court in Delgado v. Phelps Dodge (2001) created an exception that allowed a plaintiff to sue their employer for personal injury and wrongful death if the employer knowingly sent the employee into an extremely dangerous and unnecessary situation where serious harm or death was virtually certain to occur. Delgado sets an extremely high evidentiary bar to overcome the exclusive remedies available under the Workers’ Compensation Act but allows for injured employees and their surviving family members to seek full compensation in this extremely rare situation.
Claims Against Third Parties
Lastly, although workers’ compensation laws limit claims against employers, they do not limit claims against third parties operating at the site. Therefore, even though an employee may not be entitled to sue their own employer, they may be able to sue another operator or company that was working at the site and which contributed to the accident. Third-party claims fall outside the purview of the Workers’ Compensation Act, as though you are simply suing a non-employer for personal injuries suffered as a result of that party’s negligence.
Thus, if an employee feels that their workers' compensation does not adequately cover their losses, they should contact an experienced construction accident attorney to flesh out their options. Injured employees and their surviving beneficiaries need not suffer alone or simply accept the bare minimum of workers’ compensation benefits that they are initially offered.
Possible Work Injuries
Given the diversity of the workforce in New Mexico and the many industries that it encompasses, workplace accidents can have many different causes. However, some of the most common causes of injuries in the workplace include:
- Transportation Accidents: Generally while using a company car or while completing work on behalf of your employer.
- Musculoskeletal or Performance-based Injuries: These typically are the result of insufficient training and are caused by repetitive strain, prolonged exposure to abnormal temperatures or vibrations, prolonged abnormal posture, or forceful exertion or pressure on a particular part of the body.
- Complications with Equipment or Machinery: Defective equipment may be grounds for a product liability claim or a claim arising from a lack of instruction or supervision.
- Slip-and-Falls: Whether it’s a slick work surface, falling downstairs, or a tumble from a roof or scaffolding, slip-and-falls are the most pervasive form of workplace injuries across all industries.
GET HELP FROM OUR ALBUQUERQUE WORKPLACE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS TODAY
At Zinda Law Group, our Albuquerque attorneys have helped many workplace accident survivors and their beneficiaries get their lives back on track after suffering injuries, death, and financial losses. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation for any associated medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and all the other costs your accident has incurred.
Our firm believes that a workplace accident victim should not have to worry about their ability to afford high-quality legal representation. This is why we offer 100% free consultations. Zinda Law Group operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your workplace accident claim. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
If you or a loved one has been injured while at the workplace, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with our Albuquerque attorneys today. We are also offering free virtual consultations during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure the health and safety of our clients.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.