A lot of workers in California are undocumented immigrants. If you’re one of these workers, you might be worried about what rights you have that protect you from certain workplace incidents, including on-the-job injuries. This is understandable given that a workplace injury can leave you with significant harm that can be costly to treat, especially when your wages are suddenly stopped.
If you’re in this situation, you’re probably worried about what will happen if you report your injury. You may be concerned that you’ll be reported to immigration officials or that you’ll be unfairly retaliated against because of your immigration status.
In fact, a significant number of undocumented workers in the construction and hospitality industries forego reporting injuries because they’re afraid of these repercussions. This leaves them with one of two options: either continue to work while injured or take unpaid time off to recover. Neither option is ideal and can leave you facing serious physical and financial challenges.
Can you recover workers’ compensation if you’re an undocumented immigrant?
Are you able to recover some sort of compensation if you’ve been injured at work? The answer is “yes.” Even undocumented workers have the ability to successfully recover workers’ compensation benefits. This is because California law specifies that every worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, without regard for their immigration status. This law applies even if you weren’t truthful on your job application about your legal ability to work in the United States.
Therefore, your employer can’t raise the issue of employment fraud during your workers’ compensation case. However, fraudulent reporting on your workers’ compensation claim will negatively impact you in many ways, including denying your ability to recover compensation.
What benefits can you recover?
Just like other workers’ compensation seekers, you can recover a lot of benefits if you’ve been injured in a workplace accident. For example, you can receive compensation for your medical treatment, and you may be able to receive permanent disability benefits. You even have the ability to settle your workers’ compensation claim and take a lump sum payment.
Therefore, if you’ve been injured on the job, you should seriously think about seeking out the benefits that you need to further your recovery and get you back to work.
Are there any limitations on the benefits that you can receive as an undocumented worker?
Yes. If you’re an undocumented worker, you won’t be able to recover temporary disability benefits if your employer is able to offer you modified work that you’re able to do. You also can’t receive supplemental job displacement benefits if your employer is able to offer you other permanent work.
So, even though you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may be properly denied certain benefits if your employer’s inability to offer you other work is based on your immigration status. This situation typically occurs when an employer finds out that you’re an undocumented worker only after you’ve been hired and you’ve been injured.
Are you ready to fight for the compensation that you need and deserve?
We know that a workplace injury can leave you facing hard financial times. But you don’t have to suffer through your recovery or risk making your injury worse. Instead, you can choose to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can help guide you through the process. Hopefully, you can aggressively advocate for your position, recover the compensation that you deserve, and focus on recovering your health.