What is Workers' Compensation?
Workers' compensation is a system of insurance that protects workers and employers from some of the losses caused by on-the-job accidents and job-related illnesses.
Workers' compensation provides employers with:
- A system of insurance at reasonable cost
- Quick and efficient delivery of benefits to injured workers
- A "no fault" system that removes costly litigation
- Safety services for the workplace, which lowers insurance costs and increases safety
- Mediation services with a high resolution rate
- An administrative court system for timely resolution of disputes
- Purchase a workers' compensation insurance policy
- Display the WCA Poster and Notice of Accident forms in a conspicuous place
- Pay the workers' compensation fee
- Inform workers in writing of the health care provider selection
- After a workplace accident has occurred, the employer must sign and provide the worker with a copy of the notice of accident form that was signed by the worker, if one has been submitted
- Report accidents to the insurer within 72 hours
- Inform the insurer if the worker has missed seven days of work because of a workplace injury
- Allow the insurance carrier to accept or reject the claim filed by the injured worker
- Institute a written drug-and-alcohol free workplace policy and share the policy with employees
Find out about other employer requirements.
What does workers' compensation mean to employers?
Workers' compensation insurance protects your business and your assets. Its "no fault" system minimizes litigation costs and provides the quick and efficient delivery of medical and indemnity benefits to injured workers at a reasonable cost to employers. Workers' compensation provides employers with an effective alternative to tort liability, or the possibility of being sued in court by an employee.
Please refer to the Employer Guidebook for additional information.
Am I required to have workers' compensation insurance for my workers?
Employers with three or more workers are required to carry workers' compensation coverage. This is also true for employers who have just one employee in New Mexico and two or more employees in another state. The total of three employees in the company triggers the workers' compensation insurance requirement, no matter the location. Employers actively engaging in activities required to be licensed by the Construction Industries Licensing Act (CID) must have workers' compensation coverage, regardless of the number of employees.
Find out more about workers' compensation insurance coverage.
How do I obtain workers' compensation insurance?
There are several options for obtaining workers' compensation insurance. Find out how to obtain insurance.
Who selects the doctor of an injured worker?
You have the right to select the doctor the worker will see, or allow the worker to select a doctor. It is recommended that you check with your workers' compensation insurance carrier beforehand to determine their preference. Your decision on doctor selection should be communicated to the worker in writing as quickly as possible. It is best if workers know where they should seek care prior to a workplace injury.
Find out more about medical care for injured workers.
What if an injured worker needs more than medical care?
When a worker is unable to work because of a workplace injury, or misses seven or more days from work because of the workplace injury, indemnity benefits, also known as lost time benefits, are available for the worker to help offset lost wages. Indemnity benefits can be temporary or permanent.
Find out more about indemnity benefits.
When does an injured worker return to work?
The goal is to have the worker return to work (RTW) as quickly as possible. An injured worker can return to work once the treating doctor indicates it is all right to do so. At times, the doctor may suggest work restrictions during recovery so that there is no further injury. It is important for employers to stay in communication with the worker and the insurer's claims representative as well as the doctor, to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Find out about the return-to-work process.
The WCA has an Early Return-to-Work Initiative to assist employers with the RTW process. The service is free to all employers, and provides troubleshooting, analysis of current RTW practices, and more.
Discover what to do ahead of an injury, and what to do after an injury so that your workplace provides the best practices for a RTW program.
What if one of my injured workers files a dispute with the WCA?
The WCA has its own administrative court to resolve disputed cases. The WCA's Dispute Resolution Bureau handles all complaints that fall under workers' compensation law, and provides mediation services that generally resolve the majority of complaints.
Find out more about dispute resolution.
What happens if I don't obtain the required workers' compensation insurance?
When an employer required to have workers' compensation insurance fails to present proof of coverage to the Employer Compliance Bureau, or fails to come into compliance, the investigating compliance officer will refer the employer to the Enforcement Bureau for administrative prosecution.
Find out more about the compliance process.
What can I do to improve the safety of my employees?
The first step is an inspection. It is important to know the extent of the risks and hazards that your employees face on a daily basis. With this in mind, the next steps include reducing those hazards and risk through training, work flow design, individual awareness, and most of all, supervisory and managerial staff taking an active role in following the safety program.
Find out more about how to create a safe workplace, and who is required to have a safety program.
What is the Drug-and-Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy?
New Mexico law provides for a reduction in workers' compensation benefits proportional (from 10% to 90%) to the degree a worker's intoxication contributed to the incident causing injury or death (§ 52-1-12.1 NMSA 1978). A reduction in benefits is available only to employers who have and implement a written drug-and-alcohol-free workplace policy.
Employers cannot claim a reduction in benefits if they knew of the impairment but allowed the worker to remain on the job.
The policy does not affect medical benefits nor death benefits for survivors.