As of 2019, there are an estimated 11.39 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States. Many undocumented immigrants work in some of the harshest conditions or on some of the most dangerous jobs. This can lead to injury or death, and for the injured worker, or their family, this can be a very financially stressful time. Knowing what rights they have as undocumented workers may save them money in the end.
Rights Do Injured Undocumented Workers Have?
Immigrants who are in this country either legally or illegally still retain the same right as any other citizen as guaranteed by the Constitution. Meaning that immigrant victims can file claims or charges regardless of their immigration status. Every person has the right to medical care after an accident and also has the right to try and receive any compensation that may be due after receiving catastrophic injuries. Not all states allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license and when the victim does not have a social security number their documentation may be questioned. Insurance companies may try to make the compensation process difficult, especially when these factors are included.
How The Courts Have Interpreted These Rights
Employers may not want to be obligated in compensating a victim after a crash or other work-related accidents but they are still required to do so. If the injured employee has to sue their employer to get compensation for the accident they have the right to do so under these laws. However, if they are undocumented this may limit the number of damages they can be awarded. This has been tried in some of the Court of Appeals in New York and they have backed the right of the undocumented work to sue for the full cost of the recovery of their injury.
Why Immigrant Workers Need To Be Informed
Whether an employee is in this country legally or illegally, they still should be informed of their rights within the workplace. These rights ensure that if anything happens to employees, they can still provide for their families. This significantly impacts immigrants who are known to work in some of the most dangerous jobs in America such as:
· Construction and demolition
· Bricklaying and concrete work
· Painting at dangerous elevations
If the accident or crash caused fatal injuries, the family has the right to receive their workers’ compensation death benefits, and even sue the owner of the car that was involved if there was one.