Understanding Workers' Compensation Law
Why You Need an Attorney from the start of your Workers' Compensation Case
If you're injured at work and file a workers' compensation claim, you’ll face some decisions in the short term that could affect your legal rights in the long term.
Will Ferguson & Associates Personal Injury Attorney Martin J Chàvez, who in 1986 served as the founding director of the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration, is an expert in workers’ rights under the law.
He offers the following insight for people who need to navigate the workers’ compensation system:
“Workers’ Compensation is a time-honored agreement between employees and employers that when an employee is injured on the job, he or she will recover damages and medical expenses in a simplified process, whether or not the employer or the employee did anything wrong.
“The agreement recognizes the human reality that “accidents happen” and a requirement that there be fault would leave many workers with no remedy. In exchange for not having to prove fault, however, the employee gives up the right to a personal injury suit where he or she may recover far more in damages than a simple workers’ compensation case.
“In exchange for agreeing to pay the employee even though the employer did nothing wrong, the employer is given immunity and protected against greater damages that may result from a personal injury lawsuit. This is true even if the employer was somehow at fault or negligent. Workers' Compensation dates back to the late 1800s during the time of Bismarck in Germany. It is now the law in most states, including New Mexico.
“But in some cases, workers’ compensation may not fully cover an injured worker’s medical bills or financial needs. What then?
“That’s where the expert advice of an attorney versed in the system should be sought on how an injured worker can escape the ‘exclusivity’ of Workers Compensation and sue for personal injury, thus opening up the potential for far greater recovery.
“Our team at Will Ferguson & Associates doesn’t handle wills, divorces or DWIs. We handle personal injury cases exclusively. Our mission is to recover the greatest amount of dollars possible for anyone injured due the fault of others.
“So, if you’ve been injured on the job, it’s important to consult an attorney to see whether your injury is restricted to Workers Compensation or whether you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit as well.
“Even if your employer offers to pay workers compensation, you should seek the advice of an attorney because you may unwittingly settle for less than you are entitled to. Never ever settle a workers’ compensation claim without first consulting counsel.” If you have questions, call Will Ferguson & Associates Albuquerque workplace accident lawyer Martin Chàvez at 505-633-7070.