work injury lawyer New Mexico

NM Supreme Court Mandates Equal Treatment For Physical And Mental Workers’ Comp Injuries

The New Mexico Supreme Court issued a significant ruling, declaring the Workers’ Compensation Act unconstitutional due to its disparate treatment of benefits for physical and mental injuries. A New Mexico work injury lawyer represented the plaintiff.

The case was prompted by special education teacher Ana Cardenas, who suffered a knee injury while working at Aztec Municipal School District, subsequently leading to a mental injury. While Cardenas received 150 weeks of workers’ comp for her knee injury, she was denied additional benefits for the mental injury simply because it was categorized as such, whereas a physical injury resulting from the initial incident would have been evaluated separately and eligible for its own compensation.

During oral arguments, Chief Justice Shannon Bacon highlighted the arbitrary nature of the distinction between benefits for mental impairments following a workplace injury and those for physical injuries. She criticized the lack of analysis for related subsequent mental injuries, labeling it an equal protection issue. Moreover, Bacon criticized the antiquated perception underlying the differentiation between physical and mental injuries, emphasizing a fundamental misunderstanding of the duration and impact of mental injuries.

The school district and its insurer argued that differentiating benefits was necessary to maintain claims predictability and safeguard the workers’ compensation fund from excessive strain. However, the Supreme Court dismissed these arguments as unfounded and unsupported. The ruling underscores the need for a more equitable approach to compensating workers for both physical and mental injuries sustained in the workplace, challenging outdated perceptions and ensuring fair treatment under the law.

Can A New Mexico Work Injury Lawyer Help Me Get Workers’ Comp For Mental Health?

If you’re considering seeking workers’ compensation benefits for mental health issues resulting from a work-related injury, a New Mexico work injury lawyer can help you understand your legal options and how NM workers’ compensation laws apply in your case.

In New Mexico, workers’ compensation laws traditionally treat physical and mental injuries differently, often resulting in mental health conditions being overlooked or under-compensated. However, recent legal developments, such as the ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court declaring the Workers’ Compensation Act unconstitutional for its disparate treatment of benefits for physical and mental injuries, have opened new avenues for individuals seeking compensation for mental health issues arising from workplace injuries.

A knowledgeable work injury lawyer can assess your case, determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, and advocate for your rights. They can help gather evidence to establish a causal connection between your work-related injury and your mental health condition, ensuring that your claim is supported by medical documentation and expert testimony.

A skilled lawyer can also navigate the legal process on your behalf, advocating for fair treatment and maximum compensation. They can represent you in negotiations with insurance companies, administrative hearings, and appeals, fighting to secure the benefits you deserve for your mental health condition.

Furthermore, a work injury lawyer can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process, helping you understand your rights and options under New Mexico’s workers’ compensation laws. They can answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide personalized legal advice tailored to your unique situation.

Do You Need Help With A Mental Health Workers’ Comp Claim?

Getting the benefits you’re entitled to for mental health under NM workers’ comp may still be complicated despite the NM Supreme Court’s ruling. The New Mexico work injury lawyers from Davie & Valdez P.C. keep a close eye on developing case law regarding workers’ comp claims in the state and advocate on your behalf to secure your claim.

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