April 21, 2021
Rights of Undocumented Workers Injured on the Job
Undocumented workers can seek compensation for injuries sustained on the job.
Many undocumented workers in the United States work in agriculture and construction. These are often dangerous jobs with unsafe working conditions. Due to the fear of getting fired or deported, many undocumented workers don’t report their injuries, or seek prompt medical treatment.
If you’re an undocumented worker that’s been seriously injured on the job, protect yourself! Immediately contact an attorney to fight for you. You have rights too. Call our Houston office at 713-688-4878 for a free consultation. The attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group have more than 40 years of experience helping injured victims seek the compensation they deserve. We have represented many undocumented workers, and we can help you!
Following my injury, what should I do?
- Immediately stop what you’re doing. If you can walk, go to your manager and report your injury. If your employer provided you with instructions on reporting injuries, follow those instructions and ensure that an accident report is created. This will help to document your injury.
- If you are severely injured, call for help. If you have a cell phone, call 911. Even if you think you’ve sustained minor injuries, seek immediate medical care anyway. Not seeking medical treatment can ruin your case.
- Take photographs of the area where you were injured and any equipment or conditions that caused your accident.
- Make a list of any witnesses to your accident or the conditions.
My injuries are minor. Should I still go to the doctor?
Yes. If your injury seems minor or you think the pain will go away by taking pain-relieving medicine, get checked out by a doctor immediately. Why? Your doctor will document your injuries and symptoms. This step is essential because a medical expert can help diagnose your symptoms and confirm whether they resulted from your accident.
The longer you put off putting seeking medical care, the easier you’re making it for your employer to claim that your injuries were not the result of the accident or that they are not serious, when in fact, they are.
For injuries that are not life-threatening, you could go to your primary care physician. If your primary care doctor is not available or booked, you may consider going to an Urgent Care clinic. If your injuries are life-threatening, you should be going to the Emergency Room. Don’t delay in getting immediate medical attention.
I went to my doctor. What’s next?
If your doctor has reported that your injuries are serious, call us immediately! The attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve for your work-related injuries. We can help you evaluate the next steps you need to take to obtain fair compensation for your work-related injuries.
How can I still recover compensation for my injuries if I’m undocumented?
Your immigration status does not affect your eligibility to recover compensation for a work-related injury or illness while on the job. The type of compensation that you can recover will depend on the workers’ compensation status of your employer. Your employer can have one of two statuses.
- Subscriber. Employers that participate in the state’s workers’ comp system are known as “subscribers.” Employers that carry the state-regulated workers’ comp insurance will permit workers to obtain disability income benefits and medical care through workers’ comp.
- Nonsubscriber. Employers that don’t participate in the workers’ comp system are known as “non-subscribers.” Workers won’t obtain benefits directly through their employer’s workers’ comp insurance, but they can sue their employer for damages in court. However, filing suit against your employer will not automatically grant you recovery for your injuries. You will need to prove your case.
Sometimes non-covered employers will use the term “workers’ comp” in their claims when they aren’t officially “subscribers.” Call the Waldman Legal Group at 713-688-4878. We can investigate your employer’s coverage and determine if your employer is an official “subscriber.”
Should I file a workers’ comp claim or a lawsuit against my employer?
The answer will depend on whether your employer is a subscriber or a non-subscriber. If your employer carries the official state-approved worker comp insurance, this will be your exclusive remedy for benefits. You won’t have to file a lawsuit and prove that your employer or a coworker was negligent for your injuries. Contact us immediately at 713-688-4878. We can help you navigate through the process of how to claim workers’ comp benefits.
Don’t procrastinate. File your workers’ compensation claim as soon as you can.
You should file your workers’ comp claim as soon as you’ve been seen and treated by a medical professional. It is vital to always speak directly to a workers’ comp lawyer to know about the exact deadlines that apply to your particular claim. If you delay filing a claim, your workers’ comp benefits could be held up, or worse, your claim may be denied. Contact the Waldman Legal Group at 713-688-4878 to schedule your free consultation.
Filing a lawsuit against a non-subscriber employer.
If your employer does not have workers’ comp insurance, you can seek compensation directly from your employer by filing a lawsuit. A lawsuit would allow you to obtain damages, including:
- Pain and suffering.
- Medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Mental anguish.
- Punitive damages.
By filing a lawsuit, you will not get benefits automatically. You must prove that your employer or coworker’s negligence was the direct cause of your on-the-job injury. You must prove that your employer or coworker was at least 1% at fault for your injuries. If you’re able to show at least 1% negligence, you will be entitled to reasonable compensation for your injuries.
Based on a provision in the employment agreement you entered into, your employer may require you to arbitrate your claims against the employer.
What is arbitration? Arbitration is a process where an arbitrator, generally a retired judge or attorney, resolves the dispute between you and your employer. If your claim gets arbitrated, it will never be heard by a court of law. Further, the arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding. You would not be able to appeal that decision to a court.
Don’t wait and contact the Waldman Legal Group immediately at 713-688-4878. Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. If you are an undocumented worker, whether documented or undocumented, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries. We will fight to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.