Most employers legally must carry workers’ compensation insurance, which helps cover costs of medical care, lost wages, disability, and rehabilitation for workers injured on the job. It also provides death benefits for workers killed on the job.
In New Mexico, as in other states, the workers’ compensation system is set up to quickly help injured workers in a coordinated manner. These services depend on the employee submitting a “no-fault” claim. The system is not designed to assess negligence and does not generally award payments for pain and suffering or punitive purposes.
No-fault on the injured employee’s part
The no-fault nature of workers’ compensation insurance means that an employee does not need to prove whose fault his injury was. He needs only to show that it happened at work.
It generally does not matter if the employee was responsible for his work-related injury — as long as he did not cause it on purpose. The insurance company might, at least initially, deny a claim due to intoxication or violation of company policies.
No-fault on the employer’s part
Filing a workers’ compensation claim not only helps the injured employee but also prevents him from filing a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. The employer can be sure that injuries and deaths submitted to its insurance company will conclude within certain parameters, with no big awards of damages adjudged against it.
If an employer may have been negligent, the employee may want to explore whether the no-fault nature of workers’ compensation is or is not in his best interests.