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Legal Blog

What Recourse Do Undocumented Workers Have for Workplace Injuries?

The Houston workplace injury attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. are dedicated to helping all workers who have been injured on the job. Unfortunately, workers without legal immigration status can find themselves in challenging situations when they are injured in a work-related accident.

Although many undocumented workers fear the potential legal and financial repercussions that may come with reporting a workplace injury, basic employment rights do apply to all workers regardless of citizenship. If you have been injured in a workplace injury, call The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at (281) 283-8500 for a free and confidential consultation.

Workers’ Compensation for Undocumented Workers

There are approximately 1.8 million undocumented immigrants in Texas, making up 9 percent of the state’s job force, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In some low wage industries, such as construction, undocumented workers can account for the majority of laborers. Those workers face the same risks as documented immigrants and U.S. citizens.

Workers’ compensation provides an insurance program for eligible workers when they get injured on the job. According to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act (Tex. Lab. Code Ann. § 401.011), employees and beneficiaries with alien status are entitled to state protection. This coverage also extends to independent contractors and sub-contractors hired to perform certain services. When you are covered under the workers’ compensation system, you can receive the following compensation:

  • Income benefits
  • Medical benefits
  • Impairment benefits
  • Burial and death benefits if the injury was fatal

For more information on workers’ compensation for Texas laborers, visit the State Department of Insurance website here. You should also consult with a knowledgeable Texas workplace injury lawyer before pursuing legal recourse.

Your Immigration Status Cannot Be Used Against You In Court

Generally, your immigration status cannot be used against you in court if it is irrelevant to a workplace injury lawsuit. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other agencies are not allowed to bring proceedings against you when you are involved in an active labor dispute.

However, under federal law (the Immigration Reform and Control Act), undocumented workers are not eligible for certain benefits that authorized workers are entitled to, such as:

  • Reinstatement
  • Back pay
  • Unemployment benefits

If your employer was unaware of your illegal status prior to a worksite accident, they are not obligated to re-hire you after being notified of the condition. If you are fired due to injury, you may not be able to claim back pay or unemployment benefits.

How a Texas Workplace Injury Lawyer Can Help

If your employer subscribes to the Texas workers’ compensation system, you may not file a personal injury lawsuit or claim against them. However, you may still file a lawsuit against a third party who may be partially or fully responsible for your injuries. If your employer does not subscribe to the Texas workers’ compensation system, you may file a personal injury lawsuit directly against your employer. You will need to prove that your employer was negligent and aware of unsafe working conditions that caused your injuries.

Workplace injury cases can become extremely complicated when you are an undocumented worker. You will need support from an experienced Texas work-related accident lawyer to fight for the compensation that you deserve. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C. we understand that workplace injuries can cause tremendous financial stress, and that’s why we charge no upfront attorney fees. You will not have to pay a dime unless you receive a favorable outcome.

The Krist Law Firm, P.C. wants to help you and your family get through a tough situation. Our skilled workplace injury lawyers are knowledgeable in Texas labor laws, and we offer more than 27 years of experience representing victims employed in the construction, maritime, agriculture, industrial, trucking, and railroad industries. Contact us today at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Texas workplace injury lawyer.