Work Injuries, Contractors and Personal Injury Lawsuits in New Mexico

Contractors are utilized in numerous industries and occupations.  In some situations, such as construction, the work site may be crawling with contractors and subcontractors.  When personal injuries occur with a contractor, there are many issues that will arise regarding liability.

Contractor Employees Work Injury Claims Against Own Employer

As with all work injuries, the employees of contractors who are injured on the job will be limited in their claims against their own employer.  Under New Mexico law, the injured worker is limited to workers’ compensation benefits under the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Act’s exclusive remedy provisions.

As with any work injury, it is essential to identify parties other than the employer who are responsible for the accident.  This will bypass the Workers’ Compensation Act’s limitations and allow a more full recovery.  This frequently possible with construction accidents.

Many Contractors on Construction Sites – Third Party Negligence Abounds

One may not have to look far to find those third party actors responsible for the accident on a construction site.  There are generally numerous contractors at any given time and on large construction sites, there can be a very large number of contractors working on various aspects of construction.

The types of contractors and activities will run the gamut of the construction and building process.  For instance, there may be carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians, crane operators, hauling, cement pouring, steel workers and so on.  These contractors may be employed for a range of activities from new construction, maintenance, additions, alterations, repair and so on.

Many Possible Work Accidents Involving Contractors 

Looking at this very abbreviated list of possible contractors and contractor activities, little imagination is required to see the many possible mishaps that might occur on a construction site.  Because of the circumstances of construction and construction sites, the injuries are often severe or fatal.

In those cases where a worker is seriously injured or killed as a result of a contractor other than his or her employer, the worker may sue the contractor for personal injuries.  In many cases, the injured worker would sue more than one contractor as the negligence of several contractors may combine to create the hazard that caused the accident.

Personal Injury Claims on Behalf of and Against Contractor Employees

The status of contractors is interesting with respect to limitations on personal injury claims under the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Act. The contractor is typically an employee if not self-employed.  It may be too obvious to state, but the worker is also a contractor.

Consequently, the injured worker faces the same issues of other injured workers regarding the Workers’ Compensation limitations.  At the same time, there are many more possible third party actors that may be held liable that are not typically found on a work site.

Employer Contractors on Both Sides of Worker Compensation Protections

Employers face the same issues from the other side of the coin.  Employers are not protected by the Workers’ Compensation Act for injuries caused by its own negligence or the negligence of its employees and agents.

On a construction site, this might come up in a variety of ways.  Another worker may be injured simply by virtue of the negligent performance of the contractor’s duties.  Construction is unique in that workers often interact with other workers from other contractors.

For instance, they may lend a hand to another worker simply out of courtesy or custom.  Accidents often occur under these circumstances.  In that case, the worker who caused the injury will bring liability to his or her employer.

Seek Legal Guidance

Injuries in the settings above can be quite complicated.  Figuring out who caused the accident may alone be a very big challenge.  This is particularly the case where there was a combination of factors and actors that led to the accident.

It is important to seek the guidance of a personal injury attorney experienced in work injuries and construction related accidents.

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