Accidents can happen in any workplace—from manufacturing plants to construction sites, and even in offices and stores. Some injuries are common and predictable, and others are unexpected.
But no matter how or where a workplace injury occurs, employers are obligated to help employees get the medical care they need to return to work as soon as possible. Most Santa Fe employers are required to purchase coverage that compensates workers who are injured on the job.
New Mexico workers’ compensation insurance pays for medical care and lost wages for the injured worker, and protects employers from being sued for further damages.
An independent insurance agent in or near Santa Fe can help you obtain quotes for workers’ compensation coverage, and can help you be sure that you are complying with the state laws.
Is Workers’ Compensation Required in Santa Fe, NM?
Workers’ compensation insurance is required for all Santa Fe employers with three or more employees, and all construction employers in Santa Fe with one or more employees.
Charities, nonprofits, and religious organizations must purchase workers’ compensation insurance if they have three or more employees.
If you are required to purchase coverage, you can choose to exclude coverage for corporate officers or members of an LLC. What’s more, sole proprietors and partners are automatically excluded from coverage, but you can choose to include them in your policy.
Certain specific employee classifications are entirely exempt from the workers’ compensation requirement in New Mexico. These include:
- Real estate agents, domestic employees, and independent contractors
- Agricultural workers who spend the majority of their time growing or harvesting produce, meat, or dairy products
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in Santa Fe?
Every state sets its own workers’ compensation rates, so the location of your business plays a big role in how much you will pay for coverage. In addition, high-risk employers typically have higher workers’ compensation premiums than those in less-hazardous industries.
Santa Fe workers’ compensation premiums are based on the risks for workers in your industry, how many employees you have, your annual payroll, and your history of workers’ compensation claims.
The New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration partners with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to set rates. Each occupation is associated with a classification code, and each class code is assigned a base rate that is recommended by the NCCI and approved by the state.
Here are three of the most prevalent industries in Santa Fe, and the average annual workers’ compensation premium based on a business with a $100,000 payroll:
- Retail Trade: $2,850
- Construction: $7,430
- Professional, Scientific & Technical Services: $695
If you file a lot of workers’ compensation claims, you can expect your rates to increase every year.
If your rates are already high because you are in a dangerous industry like construction, it’s imperative for your financial survival that you keep your workers’ compensation costs under control. You can do this by making safety a top priority in your workplace and working hard to reduce the number of accidents and injuries.
A local independent insurance agent who is licensed to sell workers’ compensation insurance in New Mexico can help you find the best coverage and price for your industry. Your agent can also help you assess and implement safety and risk management programs that will help you control your workers’ compensation costs over time.
Santa Fe Workers’ Compensation Insurance Covers Employee Medical Expenses
Injured Santa Fe workers are entitled to reasonable and necessary medical care related to a work-related injury or illness. The goal of workers’ compensation insurance is to help workers recover and return to work as soon as possible.
If the insurance company approves a claim, the workers’ compensation insurance will pay for all of the employee’s medical bills. The employee should pay no expenses out-of-pocket.
What’s more, the employee will be reimbursed for travel and lodging related to their medical care. These travel benefits include transportation ticket costs, mileage reimbursement, hotel or lodging costs, and meals, up to specified daily limits.
Santa Fe Workers’ Compensation Insurance Includes Wage Replacement Benefits
Let’s say an employee sustains a minor back injury on the factory floor and is unable to work for three days. Would the employee have to go without pay for those days, or take a sick day? The answer is, fortunately, no.
New 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 benefits range from temporary wage replacement for minor injuries to long-term payments for employees who are permanently disabled.
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.
Death or Survivor Benefits under Santa Fe Workers’ Compensation Insurance
While rare, work-related fatalities sometimes occur in Santa Fe. 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 an 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 Santa Fe
Employers in Santa Fe can obtain quotes and learn more about the New Mexico workers’ compensation requirements by working with a local independent insurance agent who is licensed to sell workers’ compensation insurance.
Independent insurance agents can help you purchase a Santa Fe workers’ compensation policy that protects your employees and your business from the costs of workplace injuries and illnesses.
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