HB 268 Coronavirus & Workers’ Comp

HB 268 Coronavirus & Workers’ Comp by Reps Hochman-Vigil, Chandler, Dixon, Garratt, and Ely. The NM Workers’ Compensation (WC) system was developed for workplace related injuries to provide an efficient and appropriate care for an injured worker without the concern of litigation. It was not designed to cover viruses and possibly bankrupt the state and other WC funds. 

This bill allows essential and construction workers to claim they contracted the Covid-19 on the job without proof. This significantly increases employers’ potential liability and would likely result in additional expenses including business interruptions. Importantly, this type of open door policy on WC claims could bankrupt some private group, and the state WC funds.

While this bill prohibits insurers from using Covid19 claims arising in the course of employment in developing rating plans, it is likely to cause premiums to increase significantly for all employers due to the increased risk.

HB 268 was passed out of House committees on a straight party-line vote with Republicans voting against. It passed the full House with all Republicans, Rep Anderson (DTS) and Reps Madrid and Sweetser, both Democrats, voting against it