Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation If I Do Not Have a Legal Right to Work in the US?
The short answer is yes. The purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Act is to protect all workers and provide them with the means of compensation if they are injured while on the job.
If you are employed in the US, even as an “alien” or immigrant – legal or illegal – and are injured at work, you have the right to file a claim. The workers’ compensation insurance your employer has purchased should cover the cost of recovery attached to your work related injury. All employers, by law, should have workers’ compensation insurance.
Why do non-citizens have the same rights to workers’ compensation?
In our civil justice system, any employee that is injured on the job has a right to file a workers’ compensation claim and be allotted coverage from workers’ compensation insurance. The definition of an employee is “an individual who performs services and receives payment for these services”. If the employer is dictating the work to be performed and is paying for the services rendered, then they have gainfully employed that individual.
Over the years, the question has arisen specifically regarding employees that are undocumented and do not have the legal right to work in the US. The outcome being that an employee entitled to coverage under the Workers’ Compensation Act does include “aliens” without distinguishing between legal and illegal. This means that by law, an illegal immigrant or undocumented worker is entitled to these benefits.
For many in these circumstances, it might be scary to file a claim, especially if you do not have the proper documentation to work in the US. One important point to remember is that if you were employed and injured at work, filing a claim might be your best or only avenue to get the medical treatment you need to recover and provide for those dependent on you during your recovery.
If you have been injured at work, and you have been hesitant to file a claim because you do not have proper work documentation, contact McDivitt Law Firm for a FREE consultation. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate the Workers’ Compensation system and work towards recovery.Back to the Blog