It’s estimated that there were 560,000 undocumented immigrants in New York City in 2017. Many of those individuals work in the construction industry. In fact, one report claimed that almost half of all construction workers in the country are undocumented.
Just like all other construction workers, undocumented workers face the risk of being involved in a construction accident. But this complicates matters, as many workers are unsure of their rights. If you or a loved one is one of the undocumented construction workers with injuries, you deserve compensation. Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP wants to tell you about your options.
According to New York laws, undocumented workers have the same rights as all other workers. Their illegal status does not mean they are excluded from basic protections, such as the ability to seek compensation through workers’ compensation. If they go through the right channels for their construction injuries, they may receive money for their missed wages and medical bills.
That said, the laws don’t stop employers from lying to their employers about their rights. After an accident, an employer might tell you that you are prohibited from applying for workers’ compensation. They may even threaten to report you for your undocumented status if you speak to an attorney or file a claim for compensation. This is against the law and you shouldn’t tolerate it. If you have questions about the process, you can speak with an experienced attorney.
For many immigrants, the risk of deportation is too great for them to fight for justice. But if the construction company hired you despite your immigration status, they have a legal obligation to you. They must protect you the same way in which they protect their other employees.
All construction workers have a high risk of experiencing on-the-job injuries. However, undocumented workers face even higher odds. They are more likely to experience injuries while working.
There are several reasons for this. For one, employers tend to assign undocumented workers the more dangerous jobs. Because undocumented workers are less likely to file for workers’ compensation, they are the first ones to get the dangerous jobs.
Secondly, undocumented workers often feel more pressure to take any jobs they are offered. They are afraid that declining a job would put their employment or immigration status at risk. There’s also the fact that illegal workers are not unionized and the employer does not need to comply with union rules. While they can’t order a union worker to perform an overly hazardous job, they have no qualms asking an undocumented worker to do so.
Finally, there’s the language barrier. If a worker does not properly speak or understand English, they won’t understand their training. This makes them more susceptible to injury.
In one New York Court of Appeals Case, the court ruled that state labor laws apply to non-citizens and undocumented workers. Known as Balbuena vs. IDR Realty, the case set a bold precedent for illegal immigrants who work in the construction industry.
The case showed that an employer’s willingness to hire an undocumented worker makes them liable for providing workers’ compensation in the event of a worksite injury. If the worker is permanently injured and will never be able to work again, they are entitled to receive future missed wages from the employer.
The only exception is for cases in which the employee provided false documentation and the supervisor didn’t verify the documentation with the government.
New York state laws are in your favor. But that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to receive compensation for your accident. There’s a good chance you need to fight for compensation, and you may not be qualified to fight on your own. With the guidance of a construction accident lawyer in NYC, you can stand up to your employer.
With the money you get from workers’ compensation, you will be able to pay for your medical bills and recover missed wages. This doesn’t only help you, but helps your family as well. Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP knows that challenges facing undocumented construction workers with injuries. Let us help you seek compensation.