workers’ compensation

  • Legal pad with workers comp notes

2017 New Mexico Worker’s Comp Update

2017 has brought some legislative changes for New Mexico Workers Comp Law. One of the updates reported in the Albuquerque Business journal is good news for business owners. The cost of Worker’s Comp premiums has come down through a combined effort on the part of insurers, employers and medical providers.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Insurance, costs could drop by an average of 9 percent in 2017, marking the second year in a row New Mexico businesses will see an average drop in the pure premium portion — the portion of the premium employers pay insurers to cover claims costs for job-related injuries and death.

http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2016/10/24/nm-workers-compensation-costs-to-drop-again-in.html

The New Mexico State Workers’ Compensation Administration posted their response to public comments regarding the 2017 Fee Schedule and Billing Instructions. The Administration commented on the use of cannabis for medical reasons in the work comp population.

Whether medical cannabis is reasonable and necessary for treatment of a work place injury will depend on each individual case. As with any other dispute under the Act, the parties may utilize the WCA’s dispute resolution process to resolve any disagreement regarding the reasonableness and necessity of medical cannabis usage among the workers’ compensation population and will consider changes in the future as needed.

New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration

Governor Martinez Signed Senate Bill 155. This bill, sponsored by Senator Jacob Candelaria tries to clarify worker’s entitlement to disability benefits when an employee refuses to return to work after an injury.

The new law would also allow for fines of up to $10,000 against employers who terminate workers for pre-textual reasons in order to avoid payment of benefits to the worker, or as retaliation against the worker for simply seeking benefits.

Senate Bill 155

The Albuquerque Journal reviews Bill 155 here. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Jacob Candelaria is quoted saying. “It’s commonsense,” he said of the changes. “It’s not about political party or ideology.” The bill was designed to protect employers from misconduct on behalf of an employee after they have returned from workers comp leave.

If my injury is permanent, am I entitled to permanent disability benefits?

Yes. If you suffer a permanent physical impairment as a result of a work injury, you are entitled to permanent disability benefits. For most people, the maximum period for entitlement for disability benefits (both temporary and permanent) is 500 weeks. For people with disability ratings greater than 80%, the maximum period is 700 weeks.

The disability rating you are given depends on your impairment rating and whether you are able to return to work earning wages equal to or greater than your pre-injury wage. If you are able to return to work earning pre-injury wages despite your impairment, then your disability is based upon a mathematical formula which adds points to the impairment rating. Generally speaking, the older you are, the less education you have, the lower the skill level of the jobs you’ve held, and the greater the loss of physical capacity due to the accident, the higher the disability rating will be.

If you are given an impairment or disability rating that you think may be too low, your workers compensation attorney should review it to determine if it has been correctly calculated.

What’s involved in filing a claim for benefits with the New Mexico Workers Compensation Administration?

Workers compensation complaint form

A complaint form must be filled out with the New Mexico Workers Compensation Administration. After the claim is filed, a mediation conference will be held to see if issues in the case can be resolved without a trial. The mediation conference usually occurs within 2 months of the claim being filed. If the claim cannot be resolved, then the case will be assigned to a judge and set for trial. Trials are usually held from 6 months to 1 year, sometimes longer, after the mediation conference. In between the mediation conference and the trial, the parties are allowed to take depositions of witnesses and serve discovery requests on the other party.

IMPORTANT: If you do not file your complaint within one year of the date your employer or insurance company failed or refused to pay benefits, your claim for benefits may be barred.

new-mexico-state-flagDo I need an Attorney?

If your workers compensation attorney thinks they can recover benefits that the employer or insurance carrier are filing or refusing to pay you, they handle all aspects of the litigation at the Workers Compensation Administration from filing the complaint to the trial. Rod Dunn is recognized as a specialist in workers compensation law and has been handling New Mexico cases for 30 years. He will only charge a fee for service if he successfully settles or wins your case at trial.

  • If you are injured in a work accident, contact New Mexico Attorney Rod Dunn

What’s involved in hiring a workers comp attorney?

You can hire an attorney to represent you in a workers compensation case, i.e. handle the case from start to finish. You hire an attorney by signing a retainer agreement. For clients that hire Rod Dunn, Mr. Dunn charges a fee only if he successfully recovers additional benefits the employer or insurance company has failed or refused to pay you by either winning or settling your case.  If Mr. Dunn successfully recovers benefits for you,  the fee you will be charged is usually set by the Workers Compensation Judge.   Regardless of the amount the Judge awards Mr. Dunn in fees, Mr. Dunn’s retainer agreement provides that the maximum amount you will be personally responsible for is 33% of the benefits recovered.  There’s no fee if Mr. Dunn does not recover additional benefits for you.


 

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What’s involved in hiring a workers comp attorney?

You can hire an attorney to represent you in a workers compensation case, i.e. handle the case from start to finish. You hire an attorney by signing a retainer agreement. For clients that hire Rod Dunn, he charges a fee only if he successfully recovers additional benefits the employer or insurance company has failed or refused to pay you by either inning or settling your case. The usual fee is either 20% of the benefits recovered or based on the attorney’s hourly rate, whichever is greater. There’s no fee if I do not recover additional benefits for you.

If I’m in an accident at work, what do I do?

The first thing you need to do is report the accident to any supervisor in writing that you have been injured. This notice must be given to your employer within 15 days of the accident. Your employer should have a poster posted in a conspicuous place that has notice of accident forms stapled to it. Go to this poster and pull off a notice of accident form. The form will ask for the date of accident, a description of the accident, and have a line for you to sign. Fill it out, and then take it to any supervisor and ask the supervisor to sign it. Be sure to keep a copy of the notice form.

If you cannot find the notice of accident form, take a blank piece of paper and write at the top  “Notice of Accident” and write down the date of the accident and a description of the accident. Sign it, make a copy to keep for yourself, and then give it to a supervisor.

Keep your copy of the notice of accident form in a safe place. You may need it later to prove you gave your employer notice of accident.

IMPORTANT: If you do not give written notice of the accident within 15 days, your claim for benefits may be barred.

The second thing you need to do is seek medical care for your injuries.

When do you know that you need an attorney?

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New Mexico State Flag

 

If you have been injured at work, you may need the expertise of a worker’s compensation attorney. Rod Dunn started his pursuits in law from the other side of the aisle, he understands how the insurance companies behave in a court of law. He has been successfully helping New Mexican’s get what they deserve in a work injury claim since 1987.

Rod Dunn understands New Mexico law and has been recognized as a specialist in the field of workers’ compentsation by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization.

 

New Mexico Workers Compensation Administration website >>

Injured at Work?

Know your rights when it comes to workers’ compensation. Rod Dunn has been protecting injured NewMexican’s since 1987. He has recieved various recognitions for his excellent work in the field of workers’ compensation cases. If you were injured on the job, you may need an experienced attorney to make cetain that you get just compensation and coverage for your injuries.