New Mexico Aims to Change Workers Comp Laws

New Mexico Lawmaker Proposes Changes to Workers Comp Laws

New MexicoA lawmaker in New Mexico is again proposing a bill to make changes to the state’s workers comp laws.

Currently, the workers comp laws in New Mexico allow workers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to qualify for up to 90% of their workers compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. While the law does say that drugs or alcohol cannot be the only reason for the workplace injury, Representative Dennis Roch (R) wants to change the law altogether.

“Private business owners are saying that because of New Mexico’s over-generous workers comp laws, they’re considering moving their employment situation,” said Roch. “Taxpayers in terms of public employment are paying workers that may be injured under these circumstances when they may not be really entitled to benefits.”

New Mexico taxpayers have, according to Roch, already felt the sting. One famous case involved a man named Edward Villa, who fell off a ledge of the garbage truck he operated in 2006. Hours after he fell, his blood alcohol content registered at 0.12. The legal limit is 0.08.

Although Villa received only 90% of his workers comp due to being intoxicated on the job, a state court of appeals upheld the workers compensation ruling because Villa’s intoxication was not the “sole factor” in his injury.

This will be the fourth time the bill to limit workers comp has been introduced. The bill has died in committee based on suggestions that Democrats would vote “no” on the issue.

One such Democrat is Representative Miguel Garcia, who chairs the New Mexico House Labor and Human Resource Committee. He says that he has shot down the bill the other three times it has been proposed, because it unfairly penalizes entire families for one family member’s substance abuse problems. He added that he would prefer more attention to community programs to help those with substance abuse problems.

Workers Comp in South Carolina

Any full-time employee (working for an employer with four or more employees) who has an employment related injury and needs medical attention should be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. It doesn’t matter if the injury was a complete accident or the fault of a co-worker.

South Carolina does not award workers compensation to workers who are intoxicated on the job. This accusation could be used as “employer retaliation,” however, and the claim is difficult to prove. Just because your employer, or your employer’s insurance company, denies your workers’ compensation claim does not mean that they are right to deny your workers’ comp benefits.

If the employer is using a legal reason to deny workers’ comp, you need to determine if the reason is valid, or if it is a false accusation against you (such as a work injury due to intoxication). Your employer also may not want to accept your work injury, especially if your injury is difficult to prove and requires you to seek legal assistance. Some job-related injuries employers may initially deny are from repetitive injuries, stress, mental conditions, and environmental conditions such as claims of toxic exposure.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Comp Claims in South Carolina

The workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you are confused about worker’s comp laws, or have had your worker’s comp claim denied, contact us. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case.803.252.4800.