Recently in Work Place Injury Category

April 5, 2014

New Mexico Federal Court Rejects Defendant's Attempt to Disqualify Plaintiff's Witness in Slip-and-Fall Case

In a recently released ruling by the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, the Court rejected a defendant's motion to prevent an expert witness from testifying for the plaintiff in a New Mexico personal injury lawsuit. In Coll v. BNSF Railway Company, the Court agreed with the arguments made by the plaintiff that the testimony of an expert in floor safety would be relevant in the slip-and-fall accident lawsuit that they had filed.

attention-521304-m.jpgThe Accident

On March 18, 2009, an employee of the Defendant Railroad Company slipped and fell down the steps of a locomotive and severely injured his elbow and shoulder. The employee was unable to continue working after the injury. By September of 2009, he had recovered and was able to return to work. When he requested compensation from the company, they offered him only $800 and he refused. The Plaintiff in this case was the appointed trustee of the injured employee, and pursued a personal injury claim against the Railroad Company.

The Lawsuit

As the case made its way toward trial, the Plaintiff proposed to present the testimony of an expert on floor safety. He would testify that the Railroad Company had not constructed or maintained the steps on the locomotive up to the relevant standard of care, and were therefore responsible for the employee's injuries. The Defendant argued that because the proposed expert testimony was from an expert on floor safety, and not train safety, that his testimony would not be relevant or helpful to the fact finder.

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November 28, 2010

Albuquerque Employee Sexual Assault - When is the Employer Responsible

Recently an Albuquerque city employee was charged with sexual assault against a neighbor. According to the story, the city worker, while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, attempted to rape his neighbor. While this garbage employee is making headlines, this is certainly not the first time an employee has caused a New Mexico personal injury or New Mexico accident.

From a New Mexico personal injury lawyer's perspective, this sexual assault story raises the issue or respondeat superior or vicarious liability. This is when somebody, such as an employer, can be held accountable for the conduct of someone else, such as an employee. Often times for such New Mexico injury and accident cases, the question comes does to whether the employee was working under the scope and corse of his or her employment, or whether it was forceable such a person such a incident could occur. For example, the new story on this incident suggests that the driver had to submit to regular drug tests. In the event he failed any such tests and nothing was done, then the City of Albuquerque could be responsible for allowing such an individual to remain on the streets.

In addition to helping hold employers responsible for sloppy employee management, hiring, training, and retention, New Mexico personal injury claims against an employer often allow the injury victim to recover substantially more than claims limited to the employee.

December 6, 2008

Wal-Mart Black Friday Death & New Mexico Work Injury Law

We have all heard about the massive crowds that gather for Black Friday. The shoppers that camp out overnight eager to get the best deals. However, things went too far at a Long Island New York Wal-Mart when a temporary employee was trampled by mindless shoppers racing to get good deals on tvs, toasters, toilette paper, or whatever else. The massive crowd barreled down the entryway trapping the employee and costing him is life.

Albuquerque%20Worker%27s%20Compensation.jpg
Such stories are interesting for a New Mexico personal injury lawyer. Claims by employees who are hurt on the job are generally limited by worker's compensation. However, under the new Delgado Opinion, which one of our New Mexico work injury lawyers helped author, injured employees, or their family members, may pursue claims against employers when their injuries were forceable and almost certain to occur. Don't get me wrong, the actual test for what amount to a viable New Mexico work injury case is far more complex, but for now, that essentially sums it up.

According to accounts, Wal-Mart should have known that such a seneraio was likely to occur and is partially responsible for its failure to staff adequate security, place safety barriers, and devise a better plan for its employees. This is not to say that the bargain obsessed shoppers are not also to plain, but under New Mexico work injury law, Wal-Mart may be on the hook as well.

November 19, 2008

Escaping the New Mexico Work Injury Trap

Typically New Mexico work-related injuries can only be pursued under New Mexico workers compensation laws, rather than general civil liability. Essentially, the New Mexico work comp statute traps the claim under work comp law. The distinction is somewhat confusing however, the difference is of great importance.New%20Mexico%20Work%20Injury%20Lawyer.jpg

New Mexico work comp law:

Under the provisions above New Mexico's work comp law, the general requirement for an injured worker to recover money for his or her injury is to simply show that he or she was injured while working. However, rarely can the injured New Mexico worker recover full value for the injuries. Instead, they are only entitled to recover a lesser amount and in some situations are not able to recover for many aspects of their injuries.

New Mexico civil law:

If the injured New Mexico worker can move beyond work comp law, then he or she may be able to recover substantially more money. However, in exchange, the claims are typically more difficult to prove.

So, this begs the question of when can a worker who was hurt in New Mexico move outside of work comp to recover the full value of his or her injury. The answer was clarified in the Delgado opinion in which various requirements were outlined that allowed the injured worker to sue under general civil law. Many of the elements require a showing that the employer knew or should have known that an injury was very likely to occur and did not adequately seeks to protect the employee.

"Delgado claims" as they are now popularly require an intricate and involved the valuation. Fortunately, one of the New Mexico work place injury attorneys at the fine law firm contributed greatly to the writing and research behind the Delgado opinion while he was employed at the New Mexico State Supreme Court.

the ability to escape the "New Mexico work comp trap" may allow the injured worker to recover substantially more than he or she would otherwise.

If you have been hurt on the job while working in New Mexico, contact our New Mexico work injury attorneys to determine whether you have a "Delgado Claim".