People with questionable immigration status often live their lives in fear. Whether you cross the border without proper paperwork or have stayed past the expiration date on your work visa, it is common to worry about the consequences of your stay in the United States. You work hard at your job and try to give your family the best possible life, but you always worry about the potential consequences.
You probably do everything in your power to avoid getting yourself into a legally precarious situation. Unfortunately, you can't always control how life unfolds. If you end up hurt at work, you might need of medical care. For many workers, that means turning to California workers' compensation benefits. If you aren't an American citizen, you may worry about whether you qualify for these benefits.
Workers' compensation protects workers regardless of immigration status
There is good news here for injured workers who do not have the appropriate paperwork for their residency in the United States. In most cases, injured workers can qualify for California workers' compensation benefits regardless of their current immigration status.
After all, your legal status in the country has nothing to do with whether you got hurt at work. If workers' compensation did not cover those who were not in compliance with immigration laws, that might incentivize employers to hire more employees without proper immigration status. Doing so could mean that they would never have to worry about a claim on their workers' compensation policy.
Offering coverage to everyone helps ensure that workers get the medical care they need, while also removing financial incentives for employers to intentionally hire employees without proper immigration status.
You should not face retaliation or deportation for seeking benefits
All too often, workers without proper permits or residency paperwork feel like they cannot file workers' compensation claims. Even if their injury is so severe that they cannot return to work, these injured workers may not understand their rights to compensation in California.
They may worry seriously about the potential for retaliation from their employer if they file a claim requesting workers' compensation benefits to cover their medical expenses and lost wages. That could potentially include reporting the worker to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service for deportation.
Your employer is legally prohibited from retaliating against any worker for seeking workers' compensation benefits after a workplace injury. You have the right to file a claim and to take action against your employer if they attempt to retaliate against you. If you worry about the potential consequences of attempting to connect with the benefits you need after an injury suffered at work, it may be time to educate yourself about your rights and consider what will be best for your family in the future.