How to Pursue Compensation
New Mexico and Texas have different laws and requirements that affect how you pursue compensation for a workplace injury. It is in your best interest to work with an attorney familiar with both states’ liability and negligence laws relating to injuries at work.
There are two ways to recover compensation for a work-related injury or illness.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
New Mexico requires all employers of three or more employees to provide workers’ comp insurance. Texas does not require any employers to carry workers’ comp, though some choose to.
What you should know about workers’ compensation:
- Workers’ compensation is private, no-fault insurance paid for by your employer.
- Your employer files a claim on your behalf.
- You have the right to see the claim and accompanying information.
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim does not necessarily prevent you from taking future legal action.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Since Texas does not require workers’ compensation, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. In Texas and New Mexico, you could file a lawsuit against a third party that caused or contributed to your injuries.
What you should know about filing a personal injury lawsuit:
- New Mexico’s deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit is three years.
- Texas allows two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
- You could file a lawsuit to recover damages that exceed workers’ compensation insurance policy limits.
It is in your best interest to work with an attorney to help you recover compensation through insurance or a lawsuit.
Compensation for Workplace Injuries
You have a right to seek compensation for injuries related to your job. The Kemmy Law Firm has recovered over $50 million in damages for our clients.
Let an experienced work injury lawyer fight for maximum compensation for all your economic and emotional damages.
You deserve compensation for your past and future medical care. This care might include the cost of traveling to and from doctor’s appointments, in-home care, at-home medical supplies, prescription drugs, physical rehabilitation, mental health treatment, and more.
You can demand compensation for the wages you lost while recovering from your injuries. Suppose you can return to work, but your income is lower due to a partial disability and limited physical capabilities. In that case, we will fight for you to receive your future lost wages.
Pain and Suffering
Workplace injuries create emotional and physical distress. Pain and suffering is a blanket term for these damages that deserve compensation.
Not all of the discomfort and suffering you experience is physical. Our attorneys seek compensation for the emotional and psychological consequences of a work injury, including anger, frustration, grief, depression, and anxiety.
Disfigurement and Scarring
If a work-related injury caused significant scarring or disfigured your outward appearance, you could receive additional compensation.
Some workplace injuries result in temporary or permanent disability. Depending on the physical limitations of your injuries, you could be entitled to compensation.
Reduced Earning Capacity
Full or partial permanent disabilities can affect your future earning potential. A workplace attorney can seek to fill the financial gap between your pre-and-post earning capacity.
Reduced Quality of Life
Sustaining a disability or disfigurement can permanently alter your life and future. Whether it’s having to give up a beloved sport or not being able to drive, you deserve compensation for a reduced quality of life.
Loss of Consortium
Workplace injuries often affect the intimate relationships between partners and spouses. An attorney can help you seek compensation if you cannot enjoy marital relations or have children because of your injuries.
Out of Pocket Expenses
You can seek reimbursement or compensation for valid out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident or injury.
How an Attorney Shows Proof of Damages
Insurance companies and the court need proof that you’ve suffered physical and emotional injuries. An attorney can support your claim with documentation, testimony, and other evidence.
Proof of Economic Damages
Economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages, can be calculated and established with documentation. We will gather your pay stubs, tax returns, medical bills, other bills, and receipts.
An attorney with Kemmy Law Firm can hire experts to calculate lost income, benefits, and future expenses if necessary.
Proof of Non-Economic Damages
Determining the value of and proving non-economic damages is more challenging. To demonstrate the severity of your emotional suffering, we could use medical records, medical expert testimony, photos of your injuries, your testimony, and journal entries.
Proving Liability in a Workplace Injury
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance. Under most circumstances, you can recover compensation for medical care and lost wages even if you are entirely or partially at fault. While you need to show documentation of your injuries, you might not have to establish liability.
Proving liability is a critical factor in a personal injury lawsuit. If you intend on suing your employer for gross negligence or if your employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation, you’ll need to show how they are at fault.
Negligence in a Workplace Injury Claim
Negligence is a breach of a duty of care, which causes another person harm. To obtain compensation, you must establish four elements.
Duty of Care
Whether an employer, property owner, manufacturer, or individual, the other party owed you a duty of care. This duty of care involves reasonable measures to avoid harming you that another person would take under similar circumstances.
Breach of Care
When the other party fails to uphold that duty of care, they are considered negligent. A breach of care might happen due to reckless acts or failure to act.
The other party’s breach of their duty directly led to a workplace accident. The accident was a foreseeable risk of the other party’s conduct.
Damages are the economic and emotional harm as a result of your injuries.
Common Workplace Accidents
Some of the most common workplace accidents in Texas and New Mexico include:
- Slip and Fall
- Falls from Heights
- Oilfield Accidents
- Struck by Objects
- Pinned by/Between Objects
- Vehicle and Transportation Accidents
- Heavy Equipment Accidents
- Plant Explosions and Fires
- Electric Shocks and Electrocutions
- Exposure to Hazardous Materials
- Workplace Violence
Types of Injuries
Incidents at work can lead to a wide range of moderate, severe, and catastrophic injuries:
- Broken Bones
- Dislocated joints
- Traumatic brain injury
- Herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crush injuries
- Nerve damage
- Respiratory injuries
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Internal organ damage
- Repetitive strain injury
- Fire, electrical, or chemical burns
Common Work Injury Questions
Am I required to report a work injury?
You should report a work-related injury or medical diagnosis to your employer. To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must report your injury. If you fail to report, you can lose the right to workers’ comp benefits. The delay or failure to report also can be used against you in a personal injury lawsuit against your employer or a third party.
Can I sue if I was injured at work?
Whether or not you can sue for an injury at work depends on who was at fault and whether you have workers’ comp coverage. If your employer provides workers’ compensation insurance and your injuries are covered, then you cannot sue your employer. If workers’ comp does not protect you, the law may entitle you to sue your employer for negligence.
It is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against a liable third party whether or not you receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Can I sue my employer for negligence?
If workers’ compensation coverage covers you, you cannot sue your employer. Workers’ comp insurance limits your employer’s liability. However, there are exceptions for when your employer was grossly negligent or acted intentionally to harm you. When workers’ compensation does not cover you, and your employer or a coworker is responsible for your injuries, you may be able to sue for negligence.
How long do I have to sue for a work-related accident?
Texas gives you two years to file a personal injury claim. In New Mexico, you have three years. These statutes of limitations apply to personal injury lawsuits. Each state has different deadlines for filing workers’ compensation claims or appealing a denied claim. Talk with an attorney about your state’s workers’ compensation deadlines.
Fatal Workplace Accidents
Workers’ compensation insurance provides funeral and burial benefits to surviving spouses, children, or parents. However, you may also be entitled to compensation for your family’s lost income.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Surviving family members may also seek compensation in wrongful death lawsuits against employers and other negligent third parties, depending on the situation:
- If the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance
- If a third party caused your loved one’s passing
It is critical to know your rights, options, and how the law applies in your case.
Our attorneys handle wrongful death lawsuits in New Mexico and Texas. We will guide you through this process to pursue compensation and justice.
What to Expect in a Work Injury Claim
Depending on the facts involved and the state where you are filing, there are various factors to consider when pursuing a work injury claim. Without proper guidance, you may not follow the appropriate procedures or miss important deadlines, which will waste your time and efforts.
Generally, the work injury claims process involves:
- Investigating the cause of the workplace accident.
- Determining fault and liability for your workplace injury.
- Analyzing your workers’ compensation coverage.
- Guiding you through a workers’ compensation claim, if applicable.
- Filing a lawsuit against your employer or a third party, if applicable.
- Negotiating a work injury compensation settlement with the employer or third party’s insurer.
- Resolving your case with a settlement or preparing for trial.
What to Expect in a Work Injury Lawsuit
Workers’ compensation insurance is essential protection for workers, but it rarely covers everything. If you have the right to file a work injury lawsuit, we often recommend you do.
Filing a lawsuit allows us to review the other party’s evidence. Our attorneys can assess the strengths and weaknesses and a probable outcome to a trial. If we move forward with legal action, you can expect the following process:
- Serve the defendant(s) with notice of our lawsuit, giving them the chance to respond.
- Amend the complaint, depending on the defendant’s response.
- Gather additional evidence during discovery, where both sides must answer questions and share documents.
- Prepare witnesses and hire experts, if necessary.
- Pursue a settlement before the case goes to trial.
Many defendants choose to settle, particularly if they have a weak case. If a settlement is unavailable, we prepare to go to trial.
Why Call the Kemmy Law Firm
A workplace injury affects your physical, emotional, and financial health. You might have to pay for medical treatment on top of your regular bills, such as rent and utilities. And if you’re unable to work, you could be faced with a mountain of debt while your employer or the insurance company drags their feet.
Whether your best option is seeking workers’ compensation benefits or filing a lawsuit, an experienced lawyer can help you obtain the benefits and compensation you deserve.
Over 50 Combined Years of Legal Experience
Our experienced workplace attorneys have over five decades of combined legal experience. We’ve won over $50 million for our clients. Let us fight for you and your family. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation.
Kemmy Law Firm has offices in San Antonio and Odessa, TX, and Hobbs, NM.
Contact Kemmy Law Firm online or call 844-334–4388 to schedule your free consultation.