Injured workers often face very significant hurdles in obtaining fair compensation for their injuries. Under the New Mexico Workers Compensation Act’s exclusive remedy provisions, the worker’s recovery for injuries is limited to the remedies under the Act.
In cases involving serious personal injuries, these remedies are grossly inadequate to fairly compensate a worker for his or her injuries.
In short, under the exclusive remedy provisions of the Act, the worker cannot sue the employer for negligence in a personal injury lawsuit. That is the case even if the employer is in fact negligent and that negligence is the sole cause of the worker’s injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death in a work related accident, seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer experienced in work related injuries. Finding alternative means of compensation beyond Workers’ Compensation is absolutely essential for fair compensations.
Third Party Liability Claims for New Mexico Work Injuries
In case the negligence of a third party did in fact cause the worker’s injuries, the worker may proceed with a personal injury action against the third party. The personal injury case would proceed like any other such claim notwithstanding the fact that it was a work related injury. This means that the worker is entitled to recover all recoverable damages which are set forth in the New Mexico Uniform Jury Instructions.
Because worker’s (or the surviving spouse and/or children) are so limited in recovery under the Workers Compensation Act, it is extremely important to try to identify third party liability. In other words, were there other causes to the accident beyond the negligence of the employer.
Third Party Claims for Work Injuries are Fairly Common
In fact, third party liability comes up fairly often. In many cases, the injuries were solely caused by a third party. For instance, many workers are injured on the job in automobile accidents. The worker may proceed against the other driver just as would any other innocent driver. The same rationale applies for workers injured on the premises of customers, contractors, associates and the like.
In other cases, the worker may be injured on the employer’s premises or work site. Again, the fault may entirely lie with a third party. A good example, though there are many others, is a construction site where contractors or subcontractors are negligently operating equipment causing injury to a worker. Third party liability claims in construction accidents are very common due to the large number of different actors on a construction site.
As might be expected , there are also many cases where workers are injured due to the combined negligence of the employer and third parties. This could occur with defective and poorly maintained equipment. It might also occur where the employer has created unsafe working conditions with the third party’s negligence combining with those dangerous conditions to cause an injury.
In short, there are countless ways that third party liability might arise. It is extremely important to determine if there is third party liability. It is no exaggeration to say that third party liability may mean the difference between a full recovery for a worker’s injuries and financial ruin.