Many injured workers I meet do not know that there is a New Mexico State agency that administers the workers’ compensation system in New Mexico. It is called the New Mexico Workers’ Administration. The Administration’s website is http://www.workerscomp.state.nm.us . Sometimes the injured workers I meet are familiar with the Administration, but mistakenly believe that it’s also the workers’ compensation insurer in their case, which it is not.
The main office is in Albuquerque, and there are satellite offices in Farmington, Santa Fe, Roswell, Las Cruces, Hobbs, and Las Vegas. Check the website for the exact locations.
The Administration has two sections. One section is devoted to resolving disputed claims between injured workers and the employer and its workers’ compensation insurer. I refer to this section as the workers’ compensation Court. The judges, mediators and their staff work in this section. They conduct mediations, settlement conferences, hearings and trial which are called “Formal Hearings”. Because this section handles all of the disputed workers’ compensation cases in New Mexico, it is very busy.
The other section is primarily administrative. It does important work, but does not usually directly interact with injured workers.
The Administration’s website has a lot of useful information for injured workers as well as employers. I advise injured workers to contact me or another workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after they are hurt at work. However, if you are waiting for a call back from an attorney or don’t want to retain one right away, then the Administration’s website is a good place to start for general information about the workers’ compensation system in New Mexico.
If you don’t have an attorney, you should probably contact the ombudsman at the Administration. The website states the following about the Administration’s ombudsman program:
The WCA’s Ombudsman Program provides a neutral source of information for workers, employers and other parties. The service is free of charge.
Ombudsmen explain how the workers’ compensation system works. They also help resolve disputes. Ombudsmen can be reached by phone, but you may also request to meet with one in person. Ombudsmen are available at all WCA offices, so you can contact one at the office nearest you. Some ombudsmen are bilingual in English and Spanish, so if help is needed in Spanish, you will be connected to a Spanish-speaking ombudsman.
Ombudsmen will explain your rights, responsibilities and options. They may contact the other party and attempt to resolve your problem. Ombudsmen are not advocates for any party, and cannot give legal advice. Communications with ombudsmen are confidential.
Ombudsmen cannot help any party represented by an attorney, nor can they help with any claim that is in the formal adjudication phase.
Contact an ombudsman toll free at 1-866-967-5667, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
I hope that his has been useful. If you’ve been injured at work or have questions about your workers’ compensation injury, please give us a call at 505 292-8836. Or, use the web contact on my website. Thanks.