Even undocumented workers are eligible for workers’ compensation here in New York. You don’t have to prove your immigration status to file a claim. It’s a good thing, too: studies show undocumented immigrants are 15% more likely to be hurt or killed on the job than other workers.
In part, that statistic is because many immigrants are doing the work that native-born people don’t want to do, including work that is fundamentally more dangerous than the more desirable work. In addition, fear of deportation sometimes pressures immigrant workers to take risks they shouldn’t. Finally, undocumented workers receive smaller rewards for working in hazardous settings.
It’s also against the law for an employer to discriminate against an employee who files or testifies in a workers’ compensation case.
Of course, nothing is simple. Employers and their insurance companies have contacted ICE in the past when they knew that doing so would protect them from having to pay the claim. So have private investigators, who often use their success rate as a selling point when they try to secure the business of insurance companies.
Some employers even favor hiring immigrant workers specifically because they know they could try to use law enforcement to spare them from having to pay a claim.
If you’re an immigrant that’s been hurt on the job, it’s a good idea to retain both a workers’ compensation lawyer and an immigration lawyer immediately after your accident. You might need both.
Otherwise, you should follow the process any other worker would follow. Document the injury and report it to your employer. Seek medical attention. Immigrant workers typically underutilize health services, but your situation won’t be improved by failing to get the medical care you need.
All workers’ compensation cases are complicated. If you need help with yours, reach out to our office for a free consultation. We’re ready to help.
At our law firm, we understand the challenges that immigrant workers face regarding workers’ compensation claims. We have helped countless clients, regardless of their immigration status, receive the compensation they deserve after a workplace injury. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you navigate the complexities of the legal system.