Every year, thousands of New Mexico residents become injured while on the job in preventable accidents. Workplace injuries can have devastating consequences. Every year Santa Fe workplace accidents cause catastrophic injuries, some of them fatal. Additionally, workers can become ill due to exposure to dangerous chemicals and substances in their work environments.
If you have been the victim of a Santa Fe workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation through workers’ compensation benefits or a personal injury lawsuit. You may be able to recover compensation for your current and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. Contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Hunt Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and learn more about your legal options.
The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and a Lawsuit
Knowing how to move forward with an accident claim can be challenging, especially when you need to figure out who is at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. Under New Mexico law, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Regardless of who was at fault for your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and lost income through a workers’ compensation claim.
However, speaking to an attorney before filing for workers’ compensation can be beneficial. For example, if your employer’s negligence caused your injuries, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit may be a more strategic option for you. When an employee agrees to accept workers’ compensation benefits, the employer must agree that he or she will not pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. Discussing your case with an attorney before you agree to receive workers’ compensation benefits can help you protect your legal claim.
The Benefits of Working with a Skilled Workplace Accidents Attorney
The attorneys at Hunt Law provide free initial consultations. We will carefully review your case and help you decide on an effective legal strategy. We only get paid once we recover compensation for you. Our attorneys have experience fighting for workers’ compensation benefits, appealing a denial of benefits, and protecting clients from retaliation from their employers. We also have a proven track record of recovering significant settlement awards for our clients through personal injury lawsuits.
Common Causes of Workplace Accidents
Many workplace accidents are entirely preventable. Accidents are more likely to happen when businesses fail to provide employees with safe working environments. A wide range of accidents can happen at workplaces throughout New Mexico. However, some of the most common workplace accidents include the following:
- Slip and fall accidents from scaffolding, ladders, slick stairs, or a slick work surface
- Injuries caused by negligent security, such as criminal assaults by third-parties
- Injuries caused by structural collapses
- Accidents caused by heavy machinery crushing employees
- Back injuries caused by a lack of training regarding proper lifting techniques
- Injuries caused by dangerous or defective products at the workplace
- Auto accidents that occur while an employee is working for his or her employer
Injuries Caused Dangerous Workplace Conditions
Workplace injuries range in type and severity from relatively mild bruises to permanently disabling injuries like spinal cord injuries. Some of the most common injuries caused by workplace accidents include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in partial or total paralysis
- Medical conditions linked to exposure to toxic or dangerous chemical exposure
- Burns caused by workplace explosions
- Amputation due to crushing injuries
- Hip fractures caused by slip and fall accidents
- Back and neck injuries from overuse or improper lifting
When pursuing a worker’s compensation claim, the worker does not need to prove that someone was at fault for his or her injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits should be available if the employee were injured in a work-related injury. On the other hand, when pursuing compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove liability.
The liable party or parties are those at fault for causing the accident that resulted in the victim’s injury. Suppose an employer violated a safety regulation to cut expenses, and the worker became injured because of that violation. In that case, the employer would be liable for the employee’s injuries. Depending on the facts in your case, one or more of the following defendants may be liable:
- The at-fault driver who caused the car accident
- The manufacturer or distributor responsible for the dangerous or defective product
- The property owner or manager who failed to maintain a safe environment for workers
- The employer or employee’s contractor
- A third-party company or individual
Compensation Available Through Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The type of compensation available in your case depends on whether you pursue workers’ compensation benefits or a personal injury lawsuit. Workers’ compensation benefits cover medical expenses and lost income caused by work-related injuries. In New Mexico, employees can recover the following types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Emergency room care, including ambulance transportation
- Doctor’s visits, surgeries, and hospital stays
- Rehabilitation expenses, physical therapy, and occupational therapy
- Vocational programs or retraining benefits for employees
- Short-term disability payments to replace a portion of the injured workers’ weekly wage
- Long-term disability payments for workers who are permanently unable to work
Finally, when a worker dies from his or her workplace injuries, his or her surviving family members may be entitled to benefits. Specifically, surviving spouses and children can obtain beneficiary expenses, such as funeral expenses and payments to minor dependents who depend on the worker’s income.
Damages Available in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The plaintiff can pursue economic and non-economic damages when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Economic damages include lost income, loss of future income capacity, medical expenses, and rehabilitation expenses. Plaintiffs can pursue damages for emotional trauma and pain and suffering, which are not available in workers’ compensation claims. When the defendant’s actions were intentional, reckless, or egregious, the worker may be entitled to additional punitive damages.
Discuss Your Case with a Santa Fe Workplace Accident Attorney
If you or your loved one have been seriously injured in a Santa Fe workplace accident, it’s crucial that you discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible. You only have a limited time frame to file a personal injury lawsuit. There are also time limits for filing workers’ compensation claims. The personal injury attorneys at Hunt Law can help you understand your legal options so you can make an informed decision. We have a proven track record of recovering compensation for victims. Contact Hunt Law today to schedule a free consultation.