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When people think about workplace injuries, they may think that they can only happen to people who have very dangerous professions, like construction workers traversing beams at great heights or underwater welders who perform their work at great depths. However, a workplace injury can occur in just about any workplace, even in an office space in downtown Albuquerque. Workers’ compensation is designed to help workers with their expenses, but it might not cover everything. In these situations, hiring a New Mexico workplace injury attorney may be your best shot at receiving the maximum compensation for your injuries.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER A WORKPLACE INJURY?
The exact steps that you take after your accident will depend on the unique circumstances of your accident. However, there are a few steps that you need to follow to avoid running into headaches down the line.
1. Report the Accident
As soon as possible, let your supervisor or human resources department know about your accident. New Mexico law requires employees to give notice to their employers within 15 days of the accident if they wish to receive compensation. Be as thorough as possible in relaying the details of what led to your accident, as well as the injuries you sustained and how you have been impacted. Don’t be embarrassed to report what might seem to you like a minor injury, and make sure to report the injury in writing as opposed to just in-person communication.
2. Get Medical Treatment
You should seek proper medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible after your accident. This can help discover any injuries that don’t present symptoms right away. Some injuries that appear relatively minor at first could worsen if left untreated. Another reason to get medical attention is to create a record of your injuries. If your claim ends up becoming contentious, your employer may use your long delay to argue that your injuries were not as severe as you claim or that they were not caused by a workplace accident.
3. Follow Company Protocol and Document the Accident
If you have been given instructions by your company about what to do after a workplace accident, make sure to follow them very closely. After following this instruction, collect any documents that pertain to your case. These can include medical records, receipts for any property that may have been damaged, and proof of wages that you lost while you couldn’t work. Take pictures of the accident scene if applicable
4. Contact a New Mexico Workplace Accident Lawyer
The field of personal injury law is complicated, and unfortunately, victims can be taken advantage of if they don’t understand their rights or how to go about enforcing them. A New Mexico accident attorney may be able to guide you through this complicated process and aid you in seeking maximum compensation for your injuries.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that protects employees in the case of an injury that is sustained in the course of employment. The employer pays a set amount to an insurance company in exchange for coverage of employees’ injuries. The trade-off from the employee’s perspective is that they may relinquish certain rights to sue their employer for negligence.
Read More: New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Laws
COMMON CAUSES OF WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS
The term “workplace” is very broad and encompasses any place where someone is being paid to work. As such, many different causes can contribute to a workplace accident.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are a common cause of workplace injuries because they can happen in any workplace. No person or workplace is immune to these sorts of accidents. It can be something as innocuous as heading to the breakroom and slipping on a stray piece of paper or tripping over a loose piece of carpet.
Overexertion is a common cause of injuries in workplaces that require large amounts of repetitive physical motion, such as a factory or a manufacturing plant. To prevent these injuries from occurring, it is important to follow any safety protocols that have been provided by your company.
Certain workplaces, such as construction sites, may have large pieces of machinery with lots of moving parts that can be dangerous if they malfunction or if an employee happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Again, the best way to avoid this sort of accident is to make sure to closely follow any safety protocols that accompany the machine.
COMMON WORKPLACE INJURIES
Given the vast array of workplaces that accidents can happen in and the equally vast number of causes, there are many different workplace injuries that may occur. Some of the more common categories of workplace injuries include:
Any time that the head or neck is impacted, there is a risk of brain injury, which can be very serious. Whether it’s a rogue piece of equipment colliding with your head or a trip and fall, head injuries can lead to long-term problems like memory loss, trouble with cognition, and in the worst cases, comas or even death.
Read More: New Mexico Spinal Cord Injuries
Sprains, Strains, and Tears
Muscle damage can range from small, nagging pain from a sprain to major tears that could require extensive surgery to fully address. It is best to address any injury, no matter how small it might seem, as quickly as possible to keep it from becoming worse over time with repeated use.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
The most commonly recognized type of repetitive motion injury is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is typically associated with professions that require a lot of typing. However, they can come in all different forms. To help prevent these sorts of injuries, take frequent breaks and utilize proper posture as well as ergonomic equipment.
WORKPLACE INJURY DAMAGES
One of the most pressing questions that workplace injury victims typically have is, “How much money can I expect to receive for my injuries?” This question is very difficult to answer without the details of your case, and the answer could range from nothing to hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation. When workers’ compensation covers your injuries, you generally can’t sue your employer. However, under some circumstances, you may be able to file a lawsuit and receive a damages award. Typically, your damages will be comprised of both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are damages that can be readily calculated from your bills or records. Some common examples include your medical bills, damage to property that you may have had to repair or replace, and lost wages from being unable to work. Economic damages are intended to put the accident victim back in the financial place that they were in before the accident.
Non-economic damages are not tied to an objective measurable like economic damages are, but instead attempt to compensate the victim for the pain and suffering that they experience. Because they are not tied to actual expenses, they can be a bit more difficult to calculate with any degree of certainty, but generally speaking, the worse your injuries are, the higher the damages in this category may be.
Punitive damages are reserved for cases in which the liable party acted with extreme recklessness or with an intent to harm the victim. As opposed to the other two types of damages that are intended to make the victim whole again, punitive damages are focused on punishing the wrongdoer for their actions and acting as a warning to other parties not to engage in similar sorts of behavior.
LEGAL TIME LIMITS
For every sort of personal injury claim, there is an associated statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the legal term for how long an injured party has from the date of their accident to file a claim. Claims that are brought after the statute of limitations has expired will likely be dismissed, even if they might have been valid claims.
Workplace accidents add another wrinkle in that there is a one-year statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This means that accident victims need to worry about this deadline in addition to the statute of limitations if they are filing an additional claim. Contacting an experienced New Mexico workplace accident lawyer soon after your accident is one of the best ways to ensure that you do not run into problems with the statute of limitations. Not only may an attorney be able to keep you on track when it comes to timing, but they also may be able to assist you with your claim by taking the stress of dealing with the legal system off of your shoulders.
CONTACT THE ATTORNEYS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
Workplace accidents can result in a very stressful time for victims. There are many potential complications, including dealing with workers’ compensation, negotiating with employers and insurance companies who don’t want to pay, and recovering from serious physical injuries. Zinda Law Group believes that accident victims shouldn’t need to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why we offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case for you.
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