It’s a common misconception that illegal immigrants have no rights under the law, especially if they get injured at work. But this isn’t exactly true.
In our constitution, the word “people” is often used instead of “citizens” when talking about rights. This means that illegal immigrants are also entitled to many of the basic rights afforded to US citizens, including employment rights.
So, can illegal immigrants claim workers compensation?
Yes, illegal immigrants can definitely claim workers compensation benefits if they get hurt at work. That right is enshrined in our constitution. Besides, most states have laws granting protection to undocumented workers following a work-related accident.
Unfortunately, most illegal immigrants aren’t aware of their rights. So they’re easily tricked into believing that they can’t claim compensation for their injuries.
That’s why for this post, we’ll give you the essential things you need to know about claiming workers comp as an illegal immigrant.
Your Right to Compensation as an Illegal Immigrant
On both state and federal levels, the right to compensation of illegal immigrants is protected by law.
As mentioned, our constitution gives equal rights to everyone – citizen or not. On top of that, federal anti-discrimination laws protect all employees regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. It prohibits discrimination in all terms including employment privileges and compensation.
At the state level, most workers compensation statutes also cover all employees no matter their citizenship. In Florida, the workers comp statutes define employees as:
any person who receives remuneration from an employer for the performance of any work or service while engaged in any employment under any appointment or contract for hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, and includes, but is not limited to, aliens and minors.
Simply put, it doesn’t matter if you’re lawfully or unlawfully employed. Under the law, you are an employee and therefore are eligible for workers comp benefits.
What Kind of Benefits Can Illegal Immigrants Get?
Whether you’re a citizen or not, the same workers comp laws will apply. As such, if you qualify for workers comp, you’re eligible for both medical benefits and lost wages compensation.
Medical benefits for workers comp will pay for all expenses necessary for your recovery. This includes:
- doctor’s fees
- medical supplies
- emergency treatment
- surgery (if necessary)
- orthopedic devices (if necessary)
However, you need to make sure that your treating doctor is accredited by your insurance carrier. Otherwise, your claim can get denied.
Lost Wages Compensation
Your lost wages compensation will depend on how long you’ll be out of work. It’s calculated using your average weekly wage or the wage you used to receive before you got injured.
Wage loss checks are issued biweekly. This will stop when you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) or the time limit is exhausted, whichever comes first. If your disability is permanent, your wage loss benefit will convert to impairment benefits which are calculated based on your impairment rating.
In Florida, however, you’ll only receive compensation for the first seven days of your disability if your absence from work extends to over 21 days.
The Problem With Claiming Workers Comp for Illegal Immigrants
By law, both citizens and illegal workers are granted equal employment rights. The reality, however, isn’t always as straightforward.
As you know, illegal immigrants often fall prey to abusive and inhumane working conditions. That’s because they can’t always report these abusive practices to the authorities. Doing so will also risk their deportation.
So when they get injured at work, it often goes unreported. Employers also tend to threaten them with deportation to prevent them from filing any claim. Plus, they usually don’t have any workers comp insurance. All these make it hard for illegal immigrants to claim workers comp.
In addition, illegal immigrants usually don’t have bank accounts. So they are usually paid under the table. This often makes it hard to prove any employer-employee relationship. It also makes it hard to determine their average weekly wage. So even if they qualify for medical benefits, they won’t get any wage loss compensation.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer
There’s no denying that claiming workers comp as an illegal immigrant is hard. Aside from the fear of deportation, you’ll also have to contend with the intimidation tactics of your employer. Plus, proving your eligibility for workers comp won’t be that easy.
These are just some of the reasons why you need to hire an experienced workers comp lawyer like Victor Malca. He has already helped a lot of injured workers in Florida fight for their rights. He can help you get the benefits you deserve too, regardless of your immigration status. Call us now for a free consultation.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.