It is important to know that undocumented workers have a right to recover workers’ compensation and to file third-party lawsuits if they are injured at work. Immigration status does not affect your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.
Undocumented Workers Are Often Handling Dangerous Jobs
For an undocumented worker, employment conditions can be difficult. Employers may hire undocumented workers for dangerous jobs because they have a difficult time filling the positions. Workers in a union may not be able to do the work because of the rules in a labor agreement. Owners and contractors looking to save money, and cut corners turn to undocumented workers who may be unfamiliar with standard safety precautions.
A large part of the undocumented worker pool includes workers from Latin American countries. In 2015 Hispanic/Latino workers suffered about 19 percent of all of the fatal accidents involving workers in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over two-thirds of those Hispanic/Latino workers who died that year were not born in the United States.
Employers Often Create a Feeling of Intimidation
Should an undocumented worker suffer an injury on the job, the employer may attempt to bully the injured worker into not filing for workers’ compensation. The employer may tell the injured worker that they will be deported if a workers’ compensation claim is filed. They may also offer them a small amount of cash or a check not to make a claim. More often than not, these small “gifts,” will not cover the cost of medical expenses or the future lost wages to be suffered by the worker.
This attempt at intimidation is not legal. Once the employer hires a worker—regardless of their immigration status—the employer is liable to provide a safe work environment for that person. The employer has a legal obligation to help the injured party with any on the job injuries caused by an accident through workers’ compensation insurance. The right to Workers’ Compensation benefits is the law.
These laws protect the undocumented workers’ right to file workers’ compensation claims and third-party lawsuits if injured at work.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation in New York
New York employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. If an employee is injured while performing their work, workers’ compensation insurance is designed to pay for lost wage benefits and cover medical expenses for the injured party. In addition, the injured party may also be eligible for a lump sum cash award.
However, there are circumstances in which an injured worker is also allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit. In a situation like this, the injured party may be able to receive compensation from both cases.
If a third party (i.e., not the employer) contributed to the circumstances that led to the injury, the injured worker could bring a personal injury lawsuit against that third party at the same time a workers’ compensation claim against the employer is filed.
Compensation All Workers May Be Entitled To
When making a lawsuit, a claim for damages in addition to Worker’ Compensation, there are many different items of damages for which an injured party, including an undocumented worker, can seek compensation for. These items may include:
- Money Damages for Past Pain and Suffering Caused by Injuries
- Money Damages for Future Pain and Suffering Caused by Injuries
- Lost Wages
- Lost Union Benefits
- Costs for Doctor Visits
- Costs for Hospital Stays
- Expenses at A Rehabilitation Facility
- Future Medical Costs
- Costs for Medication
- Costs for Therapy Equipment
You may be able to receive damages for your future losses.
Fighting on Your Behalf for Compensation
Regardless of the immigration status of the injured party, the employer should allow any worker to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Let Us Help You Today
Call Oresky & Associates, PLLC today at (718) 993-9999 for a free consultation. We can evaluate your case and let you know whether you have a valid lawsuit as well as a claim for Workers Compensation. We have a skilled team of personal injury, accident lawyers that know how to prepare your case for settlement or trial. We have won over $400 Million Dollars in settlements and verdicts for accident victims, and are ready to go to work for you. We also work with Workers Compensation law firms that focus on Workers Compensation claims. Let us evaluate your case and help you decide the correct path for your future. We treat our clients with respect and honesty, ensuring they understand all of the options they have in a case like this. Our clients often say that we treat them like family, which is something we take pride in doing.
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