Auto accidents at work are quite common. Work related auto accidents can create some confusing insurance issues due to the limitations on worker personal injury claims under the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Act.
In many respects, a work related auto accident will be treated like any other auto accident. The issues will be the same with respect to recovery of fair compensation from the other driver. This means that the other driver’s liability insurance coverage is key.
However, in New Mexico which has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country and many more underinsured, the other driver’s insurance will likely be insufficient to cover serious personal injuries or wrongful death. This means that your underinsured coverage if you have it will be critical to fair compensation.
This is where the similarities end. In most cases, the worker will be barred from suing his or her employer even where gross negligence is to blame. This issue would come up if the accident was caused by another employee, defective maintenance, dangerous driving conditions caused by the employer and so on.
However, if the accident is caused by a party other than the employer, then the worker may be able to seek compensation under the employer’s underinsured policy. In addition, the worker will have claims against the third party whether it is a stranger, contractor, sub-contractor, customer or any other third party.
It is critically important to identify all possible sources of insurance. An experienced personal injury attorney can help. Collins & Collins, P.C. has over 50 years of combined experience handling auto accidents and related insurance matters. We can be reached at (505) 242-5958.