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Workers Compensation in New Mexico

Jason Metz

New Mexico requires all businesses to have workers comp for employees, with only a few exceptions.

Workers compensation insurance typically pays medical bills and a portion of a salary for an employee who's hurt while doing a work-related task. Work injuries that can be covered by workers comp range from muscle injuries to carpal tunnel to foot joint pain.

New Mexico workers compensation law specifies many details on the limits of workers comp payments, who can be exempt from coverage and who must be covered. Below are many of the specifics contained in the workers comp law in New Mexico. The New Mexico Workers' Compensation Administration also has a page with helpful information for employers.

Who must be covered by New Mexico workers compensation?

Can any employees opt out of New Mexico workers compensation with a waiver?

Yes - corporate officers and sole proprietors can opt out.

Is self-insurance for workers comp allowed in New Mexico?

Yes, for individual employers, groups of employers and political subdivisions. Political subdivisions in New Mexico are typically the state or a city, county, special district, school district or public agency.

By self-insuring, a business assumes responsibility for paying their own workers comp claims. A self-insured company typically hires a claims service company to handle claims administration and other services.

Are there exclusions for:

Small employers? Yes, for employees that employ fewer than 3 workers.

Agricultural employers? Yes, only farm and ranch laborers are exempt.

Domestic employers? Yes.

Independent contractors? Yes.

Casual employees? Yes.

Volunteers? No.

Professional athletes? No.

New Mexico workers comp medical benefits

Is there a New Mexico workers comp fee schedule?


Fee schedules define payments for surgery, radiology, hospital services, chiropractic care, ambulance service, prescription drugs and other medical services for an injured worker.

Are there limits on medical treatment?


Who makes the initial choice of treating physician?

The employer may direct care for the first 60 days or allow the worker to select, then the other party may choose to direct it for the next 60 days.

Disability payments for workers compensation insurance in New Mexico

Workers comp typically pays an employee some lost income if they can't work as a result of a job-related injury. State law outlines the limits of the disability payment length and amount, based on both permanent and temporary disability.

How are temporary total disability (TTD) payments calculated?

66 2/3% of the employee's pre-injury wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $36

Weekly maximum: $785.03

Maximum length of TDD benefits: 700 weeks.

How are permanent total disability (PTD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the employee's pre-injury weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $36

Weekly maximum: $785.03

Are there cost of living increases for PTD payments? No.

Maximum length of PTD benefits: Payable for the length of disability and may be payable for life.

How are permanent partial disability (PPD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the employee's average weekly wage, subject to a maximum.

Weekly minimum: None.

Weekly maximum: $785.03

Fatality benefits under New Mexico workers compensation law

Maximum burial benefit: $7,500

Dependency benefits, weekly minimum: 66 ⅔% of the statewide average weekly wage.

Dependency benefits, weekly maximum: 66 ⅔% of the employee's average weekly wage as stated in statute 52-1-46.

When do children's dependency benefits end? At age 18; age 23 if the child is a student; benefits can continue if child is disabled and incapable of self-support.

Other injuries covered by New Mexico workers compensation

Mental stress with no physical injury? Yes.

Cumulative trauma (such as injuries caused by repeated exposure or repetitive motion)? Yes.

Occupational hearing loss? Yes.

Disfigurement? Yes.

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute, May 2016 report