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Does Citizenship Affect My Workers Comp Suit?


It is no secret that in the US, there are a large number of undocumented immigrants at work every day to support their families. What happens when one of these workers gets injured on the job? Do they have the right to sue for lost wages and damages, even though they are in the US illegally? While courts have been quite clear that the answer is yes, there are still hurdles to overcome before winning personal injury/lost wages suits for undocumented workers in the US.

Prejudice and Immigration in the US

undocumented field workersAccording to a recent article about the rights of undocumented workers to sue for injuries sustained on the job site, illegal immigrants hold approximately 1 in 20 civilian jobs in the United States, and pay more than $4,200 in federal taxes per year. Even though these workers are not documented, they are performing jobs all over the country, and are free to sue for any on-site injuries affiliated with their place of employment.

This has been a controversial issue throughout the country for a long time. Many defense attorneys want to use words like “illegal” and “alien” to make a case against undocumented workers, and play into the prejudice against immigrants in the US. But the fact remains that undocumented workers in the United States absolutely have the right to sue in personal injury cases against their employers. Winning those cases, however, is another battle altogether.

The trick to winning cases involving lost wages mostly comes down to taxes, and the plaintiff’s history of payment or lack thereof. This concept does not only apply to illegal immigrants in these types of cases, but to any American suing for lost-wage compensation. A judge or jury is most likely not going to award lost-wage compensation to any plaintiff who has a record of unpaid taxes, but those who have a healthy payment record, whether they are documented or not, have a much better chance at receiving lost-wage compensation in a court of law.

Some Similar Cases to Read for More Information

There have been many of these types of cases all over the Unites States, but some important cases to read up on to get more information include:

  • Balbuena v. IDR Realty, 842 N.N 2d 1246, 1251 (New York 2006)
  • Madeira v. Affordable Housing Foundation, Inc., 469 F .3d 219, 248 (2d cir. 2006)
  • ABC Rendering v. Covarrubias, 1972 Tex. App. Lexis 2794 (Texas 1972)

These cases can provide further reading about the rights of undocumented workers when it comes to suing for personal injury on the job site.

Know Your Rights

It is important to know your rights, and to make sure that you seek out legal representation before pursuing any type of lawsuit towards an employer. That’s where an experienced workers compensation attorney can help you. With the right knowledge and support, you can successfully file a personal injury case if you’ve been injured on the job, regardless of your immigration status.

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