Suffering a debilitating injury or illness is a stressful and difficult experience for anyone. This is especially true when your condition limits or even restricts your ability to work. When you rely on your job to support you and your family financially, it can be an especially devastating blow.
If your injury or illness happened at work or was caused by your work environment, workers’ compensation benefits can help you get back on your feet as fast as possible and lessen your financial burdens. As an undocumented worker, though, you might wonder whether you are eligible to receive these benefits.
After suffering an injury or illness at work, call the legal team at Gould Injury Law right away at 888-WIN-FAST. Undocumented workers have certain legal rights. A free consultation with one of our experienced workers’ comp lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and get you fast results.
Definition of “Undocumented Workers”
The majority of undocumented immigrants are individuals from Mexico, Central America, or Asia and have stayed in the country longer than their visas allowed. Whether they originally entered the country legally or not, their legal status is currently invalid.
The majority of immigrants in the US have the legal rights necessary to live and work in the country. However, recent estimates state that there are millions of undocumented workers making up the workforce around the country.
Many undocumented immigrants are doing their best to follow the lengthy process to legalize their residence in the country. They may have even entered the country as young children.
Undocumented immigrants are still protected against workplace discrimination and harassment. They are included in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Immigration and Nationality Act (INA.)
Of course, filing a claim against an employer as an undocumented worker can be especially challenging and pose a risk. The judgment-free advice of a local attorney experienced with employment law, though, can help determine what to do in these situations and how to get fast results.
Are Undocumented Workers Eligible For Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Connecticut?
Workers’ compensation benefits are a type of insurance coverage. Businesses are required to carry this coverage for workers who suffer injury or illness at work. When a worker is undocumented, this raises questions as to whether he or she may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits after a workplace incident.
Not every state offers undocumented workers the ability to receive workers’ comp benefits. Since they are not technically eligible to work in the country, some states do not view undocumented workers as “employees.” This makes them ineligible to receive workers’ comp benefits.
Nevertheless, Connecticut’s Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) has recently made steps to expand the rights of undocumented workers who have suffered injuries or illnesses due to their work.
There are 4 main categories of workers’ compensation available:
- Temporary Total (TT): For a temporary amount of time, the worker is unable to work at all during his or her recovery
- Temporary Partial (TP): For a temporary amount of time, the worker can only complete limited work during his or her recovery
- Permanent Partial (PP): The worker’s partial impairment is diagnosed as permanent, unable to improve even with further medical treatment
- Permanent Total (PT): The worker’s level of total impairment is diagnosed as permanent, unable to improve even with further medical treatment
Previously, the WCC provided only certain benefits, like TT disability, to undocumented immigrants. The reasoning was that for certain benefits, the employee needed to be able to search for and apply for jobs within his or her limitations. And, since an undocumented worker is legally unable to search for work, he or she would not be eligible for these benefits.
However, in 2020, the WCC made an interesting decision regarding one appeal. An undocumented worker was able to receive PT (otherwise known as Osterlund) benefits regardless of his immigration status.
The reasoning stated in part, “Whether the plaintiff makes [a] showing of unemployability by demonstrating that she actively sought employment but could not secure any, or by demonstrating through a nonphysician vocational rehabilitation expert or medical testimony that she is unemployable…as long as there is sufficient evidence before the commissioner that the plaintiff is unemployable, the plaintiff has met her burden.”
This recent ruling by the WCC may allow for more undocumented immigrants to receive various workers’ compensation benefits after suffering an injury or illness at work. You should contact a personal injury lawyer at Gould Injury Law to find the answers you need.
Why It Helps to Work With a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Since undocumented workers do not have the legal right to work in the US, they may find themselves in a tough situation. They might work for a company that is knowingly using illegal hiring practices. Or, the worker presented false documents to land the job.
This can often lead the worker to feel anxious or worried about filing a legal claim. If this is your situation, you may wonder if it will cost you your job or run the risk of deportation. No matter how the case is resolved, you likely want everything to be settled as fast as possible.
An employer might use the immigration status of a worker to deny a workers’ comp claim. He or she might pressure an employee to keep from filing a claim, implying that the worker isn’t eligible for certain compensation – even when he or she might be.
How the Attorneys at Gould Injury Law Can Help Undocumented Workers
If you are in a similar situation, you don’t need to fight for your rights alone. When you work with one of the workers’ compensation attorneys at Gould Injury Law, you can be sure to get the legal help you need, fast.
Filing a workers’ comp claim can be a lengthy process. It can potentially involve appeals in order to receive the compensation you need. Working with one of our experienced local workers’ compensation lawyers, though, can help reduce your stress and workload.
With confidence that your case is in the hands of an experienced and knowledgeable team, you can focus on your recovery and your family. In the meantime, Gould Injury Law’s legal team can fight for you. When we take on your case, we will do whatever is necessary to get the compensation you need to get back on your feet as fast as possible.
Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation today at 888-WIN-FAST. “The Fast Firm” of Gould Injury Law is always ready to provide the advice and support you need.