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How workers can help improve the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act

Posted by Robert Scott | Apr 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

I believe that the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act is better than a lot of other workers' compensation systems in the country. However, that does not mean it can't be improved.

I consistently hear complaints from clients and others regarding the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act, and I usually agree with them.

I began representing injured workers in New Mexico in 1993 or 1994. Since that time I have tried, along with other lawyers, to improve the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act for injured workers. We've have some successes, but a lot more work still needs to be done.

The New Mexico Legislature wrote the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act, and has the power through further legislation to change and improve the Act. The New Mexico Court of Appeals and the New Mexico Supreme Court construe the Act and can, indirectly, improve it, but only a case by case basis. However, the most direct way to improve the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act is through the Legislature.

It's sad to say, but most legislators don't understand the importance of the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act to working New Mexicans and, therefore, ignore calls to improve the Act. Of those that do understand the Act, there are too many who ignore those calls to improve it because regular New Mexicans are not calling, texting and emailing them about the problems with the New Mexico Act. We really need the voters to speak out on how to improve the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act.

I will continue to go to the Legislature to fight for the rights of injured workers in New Mexico. However, I cannot succeed unless working New Mexicans begin to contact their state representatives, state senators, the Governor, and New Mexico Workers' Compensation Administration Director and express their concerns about the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act.

Employers and workers' compensation insurers have paid lobbyists who work to limit the effect of the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act on employers and insurers. Unfortunately, injured workers don't have lobbyists to work for them, and workers' lawyers can only do so much. Therefore, injured workers and their families must repeatedly contact their legislators and others to have their voices heard.

Here's how to contact those who can improve the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act:

Governor: https://www.governor.state.nm.us/contact-the-governor/

New Mexico Legislature: https://nmlegis.gov (you can find your state legislators here along with their contact information)

N.M. Workers' Compensation Administration: https://workerscomp.nm.gov

N.M. Workers' Compensation Administration Director: [email protected]

If you decide to voice your opinions about the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act (and I hope you do), please do so in a civil and respectful way. Also, be specific in your comments. Don't say, for example, "The New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act is terrible."

Instead, describe when you or your family member or friend got hurt, how they got hurt, and how they've been treated under the Act. Say, instead, for example, "I was hurt on 4/22/2021 when I slipped on oil on the workshop floor and fractured my hip. I told my supervisor right away. However, the insurance adjuster refused to authorize medical treatment and I had to use my own medical insurance pay copays to pay for the medical treatment that the workers' compensation insurer should have paid for from the start. Additionally, it took six months for my money benefits to begin. I think the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act needs to be changed so that injured workers can get medical treatment and money benefits right away. Because I didn't get my money benefits right away I got behind on my mortgage and had to use my credit care to pay for groceries."

It's important that you describe how the problems with the New Mexico Workers' Compensation Act have negatively affected you and/or your family. It's also important to suggest specific improvements to the Act.

Thanks for reading this. I hope you decide to take action. 

About the Author

Robert Scott

“One of the most experienced workers' compensation attorneys in New Mexico.” After graduating from high school in New York, I attended the College of William & Mary on an ROTC scholarship and earned a degree in Spanish. I served four years in the United States Army as an infantry lieutenant.

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