The short answer is yes. You can pursue a personal injury claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim resulting from the same accident, but only if your injuries were caused by a third party (not a fellow employee).
Here is a list of short questions and answers on this topic from our New Mexico personal injury lawyer to explain:
What Is The Difference Between A Workers' Compensation Claim And A Personal Injury Claim?
A workers' compensation claim is designed to provide benefits to employees injured in the course of their employment, regardless of fault. On the other hand, a personal injury claim typically involves seeking compensation from a negligent party outside of the employer-employee relationship.
Why Might I Consider Filing Both Claims?
Workers' compensation covers certain benefits like medical expenses and lost wages, but it may not fully address all damages. Filing a personal injury claim allows you to seek additional compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic damages.
Can I Sue My Employer For A Personal Injury If I'm Already Receiving Workers' Compensation?
Generally, in New Mexico, you cannot sue your employer for a personal injury if you're receiving workers' compensation benefits. However, if a third party (not your employer or co-worker) is responsible for your injury, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim against that negligent party.
Can I File A Personal Injury Claim Against A Third Party While Receiving Workers' Compensation?
Yes, if someone other than your employer or a co-worker is responsible for your injuries, you can file a personal injury claim against that third party. This is known as a third-party liability claim and is separate from your workers' compensation case.
How Does Filing Both Claims Impact The Compensation I Receive?
Filing both claims allows you to potentially receive a broader range of compensation. Workers' compensation provides specific benefits, while a personal injury claim may cover additional damages not addressed by workers' comp, such as pain and suffering.
Can I Pursue Both Claims Simultaneously?
Yes, it is possible to negotiate and pursue claims for both your workers' compensation and personal injury claims at the same time. However, the terms and legal implications can be complex, and having legal representation is advisable.
What Factors Should I Consider Before Pursuing Both Claims?
Factors to consider include the nature of your injuries, the extent of damages, and the involvement of third parties.
Can My Employer Retaliate Against Me For Filing Both Claims?
New Mexico law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for filing workers' compensation claims. Often, employers encourage a third-party claim to be brought when damages to their employee were caused by a negligent third party because there are rights of reimbursement that the employer’s carrier may be entitled to if there is a personal injury recovery against the negligent party.
Speak With Our Experienced New Mexico Personal Injury Attorney About Your Claim
There are many factors involved when considering workers’ compensation and personal injury claims, and it's crucial to consult with an experienced New Mexico personal injury lawyer to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. A lawyer can assess the details of your case, guide you through the process, and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.
Our dedicated personal injury team here at The Injury and Disability Law Center is here to help you. Schedule your free initial consultation today by calling our office at 575-300-4000, starting a chat, or filling out our online form here.
If you want even more information, feel free to download my free book, Car Accident Cases Made Simple(r), where I discuss this topic and more.