Two new workers’ comp decisions from the New Mexico Court of Appeals

Yesterday the New Mexico Court of Appeals issued two decisions dealing with workers’ compensation claims:

1.  Laughlin v. Convenient Management Services, Inc.  In an opinion by Judge Wechsler, the Court held that the Workers’ Compensation Judge correctly determined that a worker who had previously achieved maximum medical improvement, but who then decided to undergo surgery, was no longer at maximum medical improvement.  The worker’s change in condition was not barred by judicial estoppel or the law-of-the-case doctrine.

2.  Ruiz v. Los Lunas Public SchoolsIn an opinion by Judge Vigil, the Court, among other things, reversed the Workers’ Compensation Judge’s rulings that the worker had engaged in “injurious practices” by failing to complete a home exercise program, and that she was not entitled to temporary total disability benefits. The Court also reversed the WCJ’s ruling that the employer failed to make a timely offer of settlement.

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