If you’ve been injured on the job, and your employer has failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance even though it was legally required to do so, you may still have the ability to obtain benefits through New Mexico’s Uninsured Employers’ Fund.
Not All Employers Are Required to Provide Coverage
Under New Mexico’s Workers’ Compensation System, not all New Mexico employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. For example, farm and ranch workers*, domestic workers, and those working for a company that has fewer than three employees (and is not in the construction industry) are not required to be covered, and Native American tribes may choose to participate in the workers compensation system but are not required to do so.
For most every other employee in New Mexico, their employer is legally obligated under New Mexico’s Workers’ Compensation Act to either have workers’ compensation insurance through an insurance company or through an approved self-insurance or group self-insurance program. Companies that fail to provide such coverage are subject to fines and penalties. However, those fines and penalties are paid to the state, not to an injured worker.
New Mexico’s Uninsured Employers’ Fund
Realizing that injured workers were unfairly suffering and left without compensation because of their employers’ failure to follow the law, New Mexico established the Uninsured Employers’ Fund in 2003. If you are an injured employee whose employer was required to, but failed to, maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage, you can file a claim with the Fund to receive the medical and lost wages benefits you would have been entitled to had your employer provided the required coverage. If you are in fact eligible for coverage, your employer will have to reimburse the fund for the costs paid to you as well as pay penalties for its violation of the law.
In most cases, you must make a claim on the Uninsured Employer’s Fund within one year and 22 days from the date of your injury or accident by filing a Complaint with the New Mexico Workers Compensation Administration. However, if you continued to earn your pre-injury average weekly wage from your employer after the accident and then stopped getting paid, you have one year from the date of the last payment of full wages to file the Complaint with the Worker’s Compensation Administration.
If you have questions about whether you may be eligible to make a claim with the Uninsured Employers’ Fund or need assistance with any workers’ compensation matter, make sure you contact an experienced New Mexico workers’ compensation attorney who can help you obtain the benefits you are entitled to.
*There is a recent Bernalillo County District Court case that has held that the farm and ranch workers exception is unconstitutional. This case was not appealed and therefore governs cases over which the Bernalillo County District Court has jurisdiction, but may not be applicable outside the jurisdiction of Bernalillo County.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Brown: Fighting for New Mexico Workers
We know how hard you work, and we’ll work just as hard for you. Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Brown & Derek Thompson today at (505) 275-6600 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free initial consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation matter. We look forward to helping you get back on your feet, and back to work.
This website has been prepared by the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Brown for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.