Many of the businesses in Taos, New Mexico are centered around this city’s large tourist industry. Others, like retail stores and construction companies, fill a need within the community. Whatever type of business you may own, you need to be prepared for the possibility that your employees will be injured on the job. Workers' compensation insurance is designed to cover the associated costs.
Some workers’ compensation insurance companies are better-suited than others to cover businesses in certain industries. A local independent insurance agent can help you find the best and most affordable coverage for your particular business. Find an insurance agent in Taos to learn more.
Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Required in Taos?
Employers in Taos must be compliant with New Mexico state laws regarding workers’ compensation insurance. In this state, you are required to carry this insurance if you have at least three employees. There are a few exceptions. It is not necessary to buy coverage for:
- Sole proprietors
- Executives who have a financial interest in the company (though they do count toward your total employee count)
- Domestic servants
- Real estate salespeople
- Farm or ranch laborers
If your business is in the construction industry, you are required to cover all employees with workers’ compensation insurance, even if you have fewer than three employees.
Coverage can be purchased through a commercial provider or New Mexico’s state-administered fund, or, with state approval, your business can self-insure. Most small businesses in New Mexico choose to purchase coverage.
How Much Does Workers' Comp Insurance Cost in Taos, NM?
Your cost for workers’ compensation coverage will depend on the types of work your employees do and your company’s overall payroll. Each job is given a certain classification code, and rates for each class code are set by the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration (WCA) according to how likely a significant injury is to occur.
Commercial insurers use these rates as a starting point and raise or lower rates based on your company’s claims history and experience modification. The following are the average rates paid per every $100,000 in employee payroll for three of the top industries in Taos, NM:
- Accommodation & food services: $2,380 per year
- Educational services: $1,120 per year
- Construction: $14,800 per year
In New Mexico, the two most dangerous industries to work in are construction and mining. The average rate to cover working in construction jobs reflects this. To find out how much coverage will cost for your particular business, you can request customized quotes from in independent agent.
Taos Workers’ Compensation Pays for Medical Treatment
If employees are injured or suffer occupational illnesses because of the jobs they do, they can begin the workers’ compensation claims process by reporting their injury to a supervisor. All employers are required by law to post a workers’ compensation notice at every worksite so that employees are aware of their rights and the procedures for getting compensation.
Workers’ compensation will pay for all necessary medical treatment, follow-up care, medications, and other related expenses. Employees are not responsible for any costs or copays. If an employee must travel more than 15 miles one way for medical treatment, workers’ comp can also reimburse them for their travel expenses, including meals and accommodations, if an overnight stay is warranted.
Taos Workers’ Compensation Insurance Provides Disability Coverage
In New Mexico, workers’ compensation disability coverage is designed to replace lost wages if an employee must take more than seven consecutive work days off in order to recuperate. This coverage can provide injured employees with two-thirds of their average weekly wages during the time they are unable to work, according to doctor’s orders.
There are different types of disability:
- Total temporary disability: This is when an employee is temporarily unable to work at all while recuperating from an injury or occupational illness.
- Partial temporary disability: This is when an employee is approved only for light-duty or part-time work while recovering from an injury or occupational illness.
- Total permanent disability: This is when an employee injury is so severe that the injured employee is unable to work at all.
- Partial permanent disability: This is when an employee is injured in such a way that they must get a job in a different line of work in order to continue to earn money.
If an employee is approved by a physician for light-duty work while recuperating, they must report for this work or risk losing their disability benefits. If the light-duty job pays less than their previously earned wages, workers’ compensation can help injured employees by covering a portion of the difference in pay.
If an injury requires an employee to take time off work, workers’ compensation can pay out two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages. Benefits will continue until the employee has recovered or has reached their maximum recovery. For permanent disability, compensation will continue for an amount of time that is determined according the nature of the impairment.
Workers’ Compensation Covers Fatal Work Injuries in Taos
It is a sad fact that employees sometimes suffer fatal injuries on the job. From warehouse disasters to catastrophic machinery malfunctions, these accidental deaths are hard on both the employee’s family and the company that employed them. Workers’ compensation insurance is designed help surviving family members manage their loss by providing them with financial compensation.
For fatalities that occur within two years of the injury, workers’ compensation can cover up to $7,500 in burial costs. It also provides weekly benefits to the deceased employee’s spouse and dependents.
Death benefits are paid out in an amount of two-thirds of the worker’s average wages for up to 700 weeks, but total payments in any given year cannot exceed the annual compensation limit, which is set by the NM Department of Labor every year.
How to Appeal Workers’ Compensation Claim Denials
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation claims are sometimes denied. This may happen if the insurance company believes that:
- The injury occurred outside the scope of the job.
- The injury was intentional.
- The injured worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time the accident occurred.
- The injury occurred while the employee was engaged in illegal activity.
- The injured employee purposely failed to follow established safety protocol or use provided safety equipment.
If you or your employee feel that a workers’ compensation claim was unjustly denied, the decision may be challenged by contacting the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration to begin arbitration hearings.
A mediator will be assigned by the WCA and will make resolution recommendations. If you are not satisfied with these recommendations, you may petition to have the case and evidence heard by a WCA judge.
Find the Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Taos
If you are an employer in Taos who is looking for the best workers’ compensation insurance for your business, a local independent insurance agent can help. These agents can match you up with an insurance company that specializes in covering businesses like yours. Also, your agent can ensure that you are getting your coverage at a competitive price by comparing customized quotes.
Discover the many benefits of working with a local, independent insurance professional. Contact an insurance agent with an office in Taos to get started.
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