Slate's Law Blog Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Workplace Accident?

When you suffer a serious injury caused by another party’s careless or reckless behavior, you should be considering your options for seeking financial compensation. Accidents and injuries can happen almost anywhere, including while you are at work. Yet workplace injuries can be complicated when it comes to seeking a remedy beyond workers’ compensation. You might suspect that your employer was negligent in failing to repair a piece of torn carpeting that led to your trip and fall accident, or that your employer was negligent in failing to have the truck you drive as part of your job serviced in a timely manner. However, under New Mexico law, workers’ compensation is typically the exclusive remedy for a workplace accident.

We will explain in more detail what we mean by “exclusive remedy,” and then we will discuss some potential scenarios in which you could be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit after a workplace accident and injury.

Exclusive Remedy of Workers’ Compensation for Jobsite Accidents and Injuries

According to New Mexico law, workers’ compensation is a no-fault, exclusive remedy for workplace accidents. What does this mean in practice? With workers’ compensation, an injured worker can file a claim for compensation regardless of fault. Given that it is a no-fault system, the worker can seek benefits when the employer may be negligent without having to prove any negligence. Similarly, the worker can seek benefits even if she or he was at fault for the workplace accident without needing to worry about comparative fault reducing the total amount of benefits. In exchange for this no-fault system that makes it relatively straightforward for an injured worker to seek benefits through the New Mexico workers’ comp system, that worker cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent employer.

Yet this system can be frustrating for workers who know that another party was clearly at fault for causing the accident and injury. While there are not usually any alternate options for suing a negligent employer, there are some situations in which an injured worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek additional compensation for losses.

Situations in Which a Workplace Accident May Lead to a Successful Personal Injury Lawsuit

There are a couple of specific scenarios in which an injured worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.

First, in situations where an employer engaged in willful and intentional conduct to cause injury, the injured worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer.

Second, in workplace accidents where a third party is at fault—such as a motorist unaffiliated with your workplace, or a designer or manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment used at your workplace—you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against that third party.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Santa Fe

If you sustained an injury while you were working, it is critical to seek advice from an experiencedSanta Fe personal injury attorney who can help you to determine whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit. Injuries that happen on the job can be complicated when it comes to seeking compensation outside the workers’ compensation system, but our personal injury lawyers can assess your case today.Contact Slate Stern Law for more information about how we can assist you.


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