Are farm workers covered under New Mexico liability laws?

Sometimes, under New Mexico law, certain classes of employees may worry their employment sector excludes them from protections under employer liability laws regarding personal injury in the workplace. One such class of employees is farm workers and laborers, and if you are employed on a farm you may fear that in the event of a farm accident, your employer would not be held liable for any damages or losses associated with your injury.

Until recently, you may have had reason to fear. Agrilife.org reports that until the case of Rodriguez v. Brand West Dairy, a provision in New Mexico law excluded farm and ranch workers from protections. The case pursued recompense for two workers in two separate incidents, in which one was injured during general duties of a dairy labor and herdsman for one business, while the other was injured picking chili for a separate employer. Both sought recompense from their employers for medical expenses, and were denied.

On case appeal in the New Mexico Court of Appeals, the ruling bodies determined that the exclusion allowing denial of coverage and recompense for damages to both workers was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the New Mexico Constitution. This means that if you are a farm or ranch laborer and have experienced injury or trauma on the job, a legal precedent exists for a favorable ruling for compensation and protection under state law.

This post exists as an information reference only and should not be interpreted as actionable legal counsel or advice.

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