Workers Comp for Illegal Immigrants: Taking the Proper Steps
California believes that workmans’ compensation extends to undocumented persons working in the state. Undocumented workers can receive workers’ comp with some stipulations. Undocumented or “illegal” immigrants cannot claim temporary disability when they can perform modified work or light duty that allows them to keep earning their paycheck. They also cannot take any job displacement vouchers when a permanent job is still available to them. This guide will tell you everything you need to know regarding all the other workers’ comp considerations undocumented workers can make.
Related: When You Should Get A Workers’ Comp Lawyer
What Are Undocumented Workers Entitled To When Injured on the Job?
Employers that have no options for providing light duty or other work for injured undocumented workers must pay out benefits to injured workers via their workers’ comp insurance. However, if they are not able to offer other work options based on the worker’s illegal status, they are not required to provide benefits.
Sometimes, employers learn about a worker’s undocumented status only after the injury has taken place. Federal law prohibits employers from hiring any who do not have the status to work in the U.S.
Here are some other workers’ compensation considerations in California that you should know:
- It is illegal for undocumented workers to falsify their employment agreements, but it isn’t considered fraudulent when it comes to workers’ compensation.
- Undocumented workers are still able to get medical care and permanent disability if they meet the criteria.
- Undocumented workers can be awarded a lump sum or “buyout” for workers’ comp.
Undocumented Workers’ Comp Benefits in California
According to California, every worker is entitled to receive workers’ compensation regardless of their immigration status. It does not matter to California law if they are working illegally or not. They will still get benefits if injured on the job. Even if employees were not truthful when filling out application and employment documents, they still are eligible to receive benefits.
Things like permanent disability and medical care are separate from a worker’s immigration status, so they still have the right to claim stipulated awards and buyouts.
If the employer happens to be uninsured, undocumented workers can still seek benefits through the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund. The fund will cover medical expenses upfront and later bill the employer for the amount owed.
Need a lawyer to work with you in getting more from your workers’ comp settlement? Invictus Law is here to help you gain fair reimbursement for the injuries you sustained. Contact us today to tell us about your case.
What About Federal Immigration Laws?
It is the employer’s responsibility to carefully vet and verify all employees’ identities and documented status before hiring them. Sometimes employees still falsify information such as social security numbers to gain work. If the employer finds out about this at any time, it is their responsibility to terminate the employment relationship.
Federal law dictates that any employer that knowingly has undocumented immigrants on their staff is subject to criminal charges. On the other side of the coin, undocumented workers who falsify information will also be on the hook for criminal prosecution.
California law directs that anyone in the state, regardless of their undocumented status, may receive workers’ comp benefits. It also dictates that immigration status plays no part in deciding fault when it comes to workplace injury cases. California provides unique protections for undocumented persons to gain benefits through workers’ comp claims. These protections don’t undermine federal immigration law because they don’t state anything about workers’ comp.
Related: Calculate Pain and Suffering Compensation After an Injury
Workers’ Comp Claims Are Not Affected By Fraudulent Employment
Employers and insurance companies have tried to argue that workers’ comp claims should be nullified due to gaining employment fraudulently. However, workers’ comp claims are completely separated from the fraud about the terms of employment. Complaints that a worker lied about their immigration status will not be heard in workers’ compensation cases.
It will still be illegal for injured workers to falsify information to gain workers’ comp benefits, and doing so will stop them from receiving any compensation.
What Compensation Benefits Can Undocumented Workers Get?
Undocumented workers injured on the job in California will be able to get the same benefits like temporary disability (with the stipulations mentioned above). They can receive lump-sum payments, medical treatment, and all other workers’ comp benefits.
How Can Undocumented Workers Claim Benefits?
Undocumented workers may face employers disputing their claims for benefits due to their illegal status. To fight this, injured parties can file a document to proceed with a mandatory settlement conference. Undocumented worker status should not affect any of the normal benefits except for the company own’t be required to re-establish them as an employee.
Final Considerations With California Workers’ Compensation
As mentioned before, the workers’ compensation in California does not care about a worker’s undocumented status if they were injured on the job. They have determined that the purpose of hearing workers’ compensation claims should be separate from any cases for fraud during the hiring process.
This all provides an environment where injured persons can receive care, and where workplaces make every effort to become safer. It also protects undocumented persons from being taken advantage of by businesses that would hire them and then deny them any compensation when they got hurt.
Looking for the best lawyers in California to help with your workers’ compensation case? Invictus Law will fight for a fair settlement from your company. Get in touch with us today.
Invictus Law Can Help With Your Claim
If you are an injured undocumented worker, having an experienced lawyer on your side is the best move. At Invictus Law, we will recover everything you need to be fairly compensated for your injuries. We know what you are up against, and it’s our job to even the playing field and make sure justice is done.
Related: How to Get Workers Compensation For Back Injuries at Work