Workers’ Compensation Benefits Apply to All
All California workers are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits regardless of their legal status in this country. In fact, California law states that all protections, rights, and remedies under state law are available to all individuals regardless of immigration status who work or have worked in this state.
Unfortunately, many people are not aware of these rights, and mistakenly believe that the right to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits only extends to those who are legally entitled to work in this state.
Most undocumented workers who are injured on the job are fearful of filing a Workers’ Compensation claim because they believe that if they file a claim they subject themselves to being reported to the authorities, which could result in a potential arrest and/or deportation. Others believe they will get fired from their jobs. The assumption is that if they are in this country “illegally,” they must not have rights. Some think that because they don’t have a Social Security card or possess an invalid one, they are barred from filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. Others believe that because they are paid in cash “under the table” they must not be eligible to receive these benefits. Unfortunately, these unwarranted beliefs are usually promulgated by individuals who do not understand the law, or by unscrupulous employers.
Obviously, there are no guarantees that other issues might arise concerning a person’s legal status in the United States, but if a person is injured while working, the law states that he or she should be afforded benefits, including medical treatment.
It is strongly recommended that if a worker—regardless of legal status in this country—is injured on the job, he or she should be report the injury to the employer immediately, and medical treatment should be sought. However, if for any reason, an injured worker is fearful, uncomfortable and/or intimidated by the Workers’ Compensation claims process, he or she should contact an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney who can provide guidance throughout the process.
For the past 30 years, the Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (GEK) have been representing injured workers and, because of their expertise, help ensure those hurt on the job receive the full range of benefits to which they are entitled. If you would like to speak with a GEK attorney about your legal options, please call 213-739-7000 or click here.