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How Citizenship Affects Workers’ Comp Claims

  • Published: May 15, 2023

Workers’ comp benefits have been available to employees for years. California employers must carry insurance to protect their employees in the event of job-related injuries or illnesses. While workers’ comp benefits availability is common knowledge, there are many lies and myths about them. Some individuals spread false information about these benefits only because they’re not informed properly or don’t know better. 

In some cases, employers outright lie to their staff to keep them from claiming workers’ compensation. In fact, one persistent myth that employers often share with their employees is that workers’ compensation is only available to documented employees or citizens. This is just not accurate information. If you’ve been denied workers’ comp due to your citizenship, you should speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today.

Citizenship and Your Right to Workers’ Compensation 

Individuals with questionable immigration status frequently live in fear. Whether you’ve stayed past your work visa expiration date or have crossed the border without the right paperwork, it’s not a surprise that you worry about what consequences you may face for staying in the U.S., despite working hard and trying to provide the best possible life for your family. 

You likely do all you can to avoid getting into a precarious situation. Sadly, it’s not always possible to control how life unfolds. If you become injured at the workplace, you may require medical care. For many employees, this means they need to turn to workers’ compensation. If you aren’t a citizen of the U.S., you might worry if you even qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

California law provides injured workers with comprehensive coverage in the form of workers’ compensation. This is irrespective of their citizenship. Workers’ comp benefits are considered “no-fault” benefits that employers grant injured employees. Employees obtain this type of insurance regardless of whether they’ve had any fault in the accident or not that resulted in their injuries. 

What Are the Grounds for Denial of Workers’ Comp Benefits? 

Your legal status is also not grounds to deny this essential insurance if you’ve sustained an injury on the job. However, other conditions could very well affect your right to compensation, which can include:

  • Your employment status: An example of this would be independent contractors. If you’re an independent contractor, you do not qualify for workers’ comp.
  • Missed deadlines: While it might seem easy to fulfill all deadlines, it’s not. So, the more you hesitate on reporting your accident, the less chance you’ll be able to recover workers’ comp benefits.
  • Denial of your claim: Insurance providers might deny your workers’ comp claim on numerous grounds. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you build a strong defense to argue and fight this decision.

As a hard-working employee, you do have rights, and if you decide not to consult with an experienced and compassionate lawyer to discuss your case, you risk losing more. There are deadlines you’ll need to meet, and you have bills that need to be paid and loved ones you need to take care of.

You Have the Right to Sue if You’re Not a Citizen 

If you’re in the U.S., and you’ve sustained an injury at the workplace as a non-citizen and without papers, you can still sue for damages that resulted from the accident. In California, your immigration status doesn’t impact your right to recover compensation for any injuries you sustain due to another person’s negligence. Courts often ignore a worker’s immigration status when they’re suing for compensation for the injuries they’ve sustained on the job.

The U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment also guarantees the rights of any person who resides in the United States to seek redress for harm done to them, including injuries that result from another person’s negligence. 

Can You Face Deportation or Retaliation for Seeking Benefits? 

Employees without proper residency paperwork and permits frequently feel like they aren’t allowed to file workers’ comp claims. Even if they’re suffering from a severe injury that keeps them from being able to return to work, these injured employees might not realize or understand that they still have the right to be compensated for their injuries in the state of California.

They might worry that their employer will retaliate in some way if they file a workers’ compensation claim. This retaliation could include reporting the employee for deportation by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. 

However, all employers are legally prohibited from retaliating against any employee that seeks workers’ compensation following a workplace injury. It is your legal right to file a claim against your employer and take action against them if they try to retaliate against you. If you’re concerned about the possible consequences of trying to file for these benefits that you need after sustaining an injury at work, it might be time for your to seek legal guidance and advice about your rights and take your family’s best interests into consideration.

But What if You Lied About Your Right to Work? 

Employers can typically challenge workers’ comp claims successfully by proving the worker made false statements about the incident. But, this won’t extend to false statements the worker made about their right to work or their immigration status.

This is because the worker lied about their right to work, not their injury. If they were to tell a lie about their injury, then that would be fraud.

Should Immigrant Workers Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer to Help Them Claim Benefits? 

Even lifelong citizens can experience a little nervousness when filing for workers’ comp benefits. Individuals without documentation and immigrant workers might require assistance to apply.

Having an experienced workers’ comp attorney advocating for your rights and assisting you while applying for these benefits can help you avoid employer retaliation and other unfair treatment. In the US, asserting your legal right to workers’ comp benefits shouldn’t impact your living arrangements or employment status. This knowledge can help you protect yourself when you file a claim for workers’ comp benefits.

Call the Skilled California Workers’ Comp Lawyers at KCNS Law Group Today 

If you’re facing issues with filing for workers’ compensation, or if you’ve sustained an injury outside of the workplace due to the negligence of another person, as a non-citizen, you may want to enlist the help of a highly-skilled workers ‘ comp/personal injury attorney.

Immediately after you sustain the injury, reach out to KCNS Law Group to discuss your case. Call us today at (818) 937-9255 or fill out our contact form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation and case review to see if we can help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to.

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