A Las Cruces, New Mexico city employee fell from a ledge on a city garbage truck when he attempted to remove a trash bin that became stuck in the truck’s hopper. The employee was seriously injured and was awarded full workers’ compensation benefits, allowing him to pay his medical bills and recoup some of his lost income after the incident.
Neither the worker nor the supervisor could have predicted how this incident would transpire as they went about their daily tasks. Incidents like these show that workplace accidents can happen when you least expect them, whether you operate a sanitation company, a construction firm, a retail store, or any other kind of business in Las Cruces.
With workers’ compensation insurance, your employees and you have financial backup when accidents happen. Workers can pay their medical bills and are compensated for lost wages, and you are protected from excessive and devastating lawsuits.
An independent insurance agent in Las Cruces can help you find suitable workers’ compensation insurance.
Is Workers’ Compensation Required in Las Cruces, NM?
All Las Cruces businesses that employ three or more workers are required by law to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. This includes charities, nonprofits, and religious organizations.
Employers must count every employee to determine if they need to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Owners, family members, and part-time and seasonal workers should be included in the employee count.
Once your employee count has been determined, you can choose to exclude coverage for corporate officers or members of an LLC. Sole proprietors or partners are automatically excluded from coverage, but have the option to include themselves.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in Las Cruces?
In general, workers’ compensation costs depend on the types of jobs your employees do and your company’s overall payroll. Employers in high-hazard industries pay more for workers' comp coverage than low-hazard industries, but a lot of other factors come in to play, as well.
The number of employees, the type of work they perform, and the company history of accidents and workers’ compensation claims will determine your New Mexico workers’ compensation premiums. But every employer starts out with base rates supplied by the state. From there, a complex formula is used to determine what you will pay.
New Mexico partners with the National Council for Compensation Insurance (NCCI), an independent rating and data collection bureau, to assign workers’ compensation rates for every industry. The NCCI assigns a classification code to each occupation. And each class code is then assigned a base rate for workers’ compensation insurance.
The following are average annual rates paid per every $100,000 in employee payroll for three of the top industries in Las Cruces, NM.
- Accommodation & Food Services: $2,195
- Educational Services: $1,285
- Healthcare Services: $1,825
There is no question that employers in high-risk industries pay more for New Mexico workers’ compensation insurance than employers in low-risk industries. Hospitality, education, and healthcare workers may not face the same dangers as manufacturing and construction employees, but these kinds of workers can be exposed to illnesses, trips and falls, and even back strain or repetitive motion injuries.
An independent insurance agent can help you get the right Las Cruces workers’ compensation coverage for your employee population, and can help you learn more about how to control costs.
Las Cruces Workers’ Compensation Insurance Covers Employee Medical Expenses
Injured Las Cruces workers are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care related to a work-related injury or illness. Typically, medical care takes place over a short period until the injury or illness has resolved. Sometimes it's necessary to cover an employee’s medical expenses for much longer, and even for life, but the goal of workers’ compensation insurance is to help workers recover and return to work as soon as possible.
The employer's insurer will investigate all medical claims submitted by the employer. If a claim is found to be compensable, the insurer's claims administrator will pay the provider's medical bills. The employee should not be responsible for any of their injury-related medical expenses.
Workers who travel 15 miles or more one way from home or work for medical care can be reimbursed as part of their claim. These travel benefits include transportation ticket costs, mileage reimbursement, hotel or lodging costs, and meals, up to certain maximums per day.
Las Cruces Workers’ Compensation Insurance Includes Wage Replacement Benefits
Mew Mexico employees are entitled to a certain amount of wage replacement if they are unable to work as a result of a workplace injury or illness. The amount of disability benefits that an employee receives is dependent on the degree and duration of their disability, or inability to return to work.
Disability or lost-wage benefits can be temporary or permanent.
Death or Survivor Benefits Under Las Cruces Workers’ Compensation Insurance
It is an unfortunate reality that fatal workplace accidents can and do happen in Las Cruces. Workers’ compensation insurance helps ease the financial burden for the injured worker’s family by providing death or survivor benefits.
An employee’s family may receive a portion of the deceased employee’s compensation for a certain period following their death, as well as a lump-sum payment for funeral expenses.
Currently, New Mexico workers’ compensation death benefits are paid to the worker's dependents, up to the full compensation rate, for the maximum period of benefits. The maximum amount due is how much the worker would have received in temporary total disability benefits, up to 700 weeks.
Funeral benefits are separate from death benefits. A deceased worker’s family will receive $7,500 in funeral benefits in addition to the benefits described above.
What Happens When Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Disputed?
Sometimes an employee, an employer, or even the insurer has concerns about a particular workers’ compensation claim. Claims can be denied, complaints can be made, and all parties involved must have a means to fairly resolve any denials or disputes.
The New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration provides an Adjudication Bureau, which is tasked with providing assistance when claims are in dispute. The Adjudication Bureau is staffed with professional mediators and judges who work with the parties to resolve complaints and disputes according to New Mexico law.
Find the Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Las Cruces
The best way to find suitable workers’ compensation insurance for your Las Cruces business is to work with an independent insurance agent in your city. Independent agents can find an insurance company that specializes in your industry, and can help you compare coverage and rates so you can be sure you are getting the best policy for your needs.
Contact a local agent today to get started.
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