New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Basics #1: Does your employer have workers’ compensation insurance?

It’s been awhile since I wrote about the basics of New Mexico workers’ compensation. This is especially important now that businesses are reopening after the COVID-19 shut down.

I’ll do a new posting every few days on workers’ compensation basics.

The first thing all workers should do is to check that their employer has workers’ compensation insurance. If your applying for a new job, you should check that the prospective employer has workers’ compensation insurance.

You must know if there is workers’ compensation that will provide money benefits and medical benefits to you BEFORE you are hurt at work.

The law requires workers’ compensation insurance for all employers with three or more workers. All construction and building trades companies are required to have workers’ compensation insurance even if there is only one employee.

It’s easy to confirm if an employer has workers’ compensation insurance.

You can ask your employer, but it could cause problems, especially if there is no workers’ compensation insurance.

The New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration has a page to check for coverage.

It is  There is a link on that page that will take you to another page to start the process. You will need the employer’s name and the date for when you want to check for workers’ compensation insurance.

If there is workers’ compensation insurance then you should be covered if you are injured at work. You should periodically check to make sure the workers’ compensation insurance is still in place.

If there is no workers’ compensation insurance then you have a more difficult situation. If you feel comfortable with your employer, you can talk to your supervisor about the lack of workers’ compensation insurance, and ask that the employer get workers’ compensation insurance. However, that could come back on you.

If the employer refuses to get workers’ compensation insurance, then you should think about finding a new job. If you are hurt on the job and there is no workers’ compensation insurance, then it is likely that you will be out of work without pay until you recover from your injuries, and you will have to find a way to pay the medical bills to treat your work injuries.

If you have a family who is depending on your pay and you cannot work, then this could be a nightmare for you and your family, especially if you do not have an emergency fund.

One of the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration many duties is to ensure that employers have workers’ compensation insurance to protect their workers and the workers’ families.

On the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration website at you can see that increasing the number of insured businesses is a strategic goal. The Enforcement Bureau’s main job is to ensure that employers have workers’ compensation insurance and can penalize employers who don’t have workers’ compensation insurance.

You are within your rights to report employers who do not have workers’ compensation insurance. You can call 505 841-6000 and tell the person who answers that you want to report an employer who does not have workers’ compensation insurance. I believe you can make an anonymous report so the employer does not who made the report.




Workers compensation & undocumented workers

New Mexico Workers Compensation Act and undocumented workers.

The New Mexico Supreme Court recently clarified when an undocumented injured worker is entitled to full workers compensation benefits in  Gonzalez v. Performance Painting, Inc., 2013 NMSC 021. A copy of the case can be located at

The opinion is important because it confirms for the first time that undocumented workers who are injured on the job are entitled to full workers’ compensation benefits if the workers meet the requirements outlined in the opinion. Additionally, the Court places responsibility on employers to take steps to avoid hiring undocumented workers.

The concurrences by Justice Chavez and Justice Daniels are especially good reads because they go further than the majority opinion. Additionally, the two Justices affirm the importance of undocumented workers in the history of New Mexico and the country in general as well as the dignity of all workers.

Before this case, workers compensation insurers and employers refused to pay full money benefits to undocumented workers. The employers argued that they could not legally rehire the injured workers because of their undocumented status. The Supreme Court decided that this was not proper especially when many of the employers knowingly hired undocumented workers.

The upshot is that undocumented workers are treated the same as documented workers under the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Act.

Welcome to our new website. Also, a new workers’ compensation opinion.

Welcome to our new website. I hope that you find it useful. If you see anything that needs to be corrected or that could be improved, please email me at I’m sorry but I can’t change how I look in my picture.

One of our goals is to provide timely news about our areas of practice.

To that end, I’d like to bring to your attention a recent New Mexico Court of Appeals opinion, Gregory Vialpando v. Ben’s Automotive Services and Redwood Fire & Casualty,    N.M.    , No. 32,920 (5/19/2014). This is a workers’ compensation case that addresses the question of whether or not medical treatment using medical marijuana must be paid for by the workers’ compensation insurer. In summary, the Court held that medical marijuana could be used to treat a workers’ injuries under New Mexico workers’ compensation law as long as there was adequate proof that the treatment was reasonable and necessary.

So, if your treating doctor has offered medical marijuana as part of your treatment, it is now possible to get it as long as your doctor can show the treatment is reasonable and necessary. Unfortunately, you may have to wait until a workers’ compensation judge decides that such treatment is reasonable and necessary in your case before the workers’ compensation insurer will pay for the treatment.

The Court of Appeals has not posted the opinion yet, but is should be on this site soon if you’d like to see it: