Can an Undocumented Worker File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

The serious New York injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are frequently asked by undocumented persons, usually construction workers and laborers, whether they can bring a personal injury lawsuit. Usually they have been told by a boss or co-worker that they have no right to bring a lawsuit or that — if they try — they will lose their jobs. Sometimes these shameless threats include a warning that the undocumented person will be deported if they file a claim. Block O’Toole & Murphy is proud to say that we have represented documented and undocumented workers for their serious injuries. We relish the chance to stand up for someone that needs a voice. Below, we will dispel the myth that an undocumented person cannot bring a lawsuit. It’s simply not true.

If you are an undocumented worker, and you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should know that you have legal rights and can bring a lawsuit and can recover damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, or lost future wages.

Undocumented workers are a significant part of New York’s labor force. The numbers, while not precise, are staggering, meaning many people are at risk when they are injured. Undocumented persons are vulnerable because of their status in the country. Many feel they cannot defend their rights, and many do not even know what legal rights they actually have. Many fear retribution from their employers or from authorities generally for their immigration status if they stand up for their rights in court.

Few know that it is not a crime in New York to work without proper documentation. No matter what your immigration status, you DO have a right to bring a personal injury lawsuit in New York and you CAN recover damages. Generally speaking, your damages are no different than a documented worker. Pain is pain. Your happiness is no more or less important than anyone elses. Whether you are injured on a construction site, in a motor vehicle accident, a tractor trailer crash or at work, you do have rights, and you can recover if someone else was at fault for your injuries.

Block O’Toole & Murphy is a personal injury law firm that can help you defend your rights, and can help recover money in many cases. We have lawyers and staff members who speak your language – including Spanish, Russian, Polish and Italian – and we are always ready to offer a completely free legal consultation with no obligation. Our New York injury lawyers have a track record of helping undocumented persons and are proud of the more than $700,000,000 we have recovered in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured victims. To learn more about the firm, please see our website at For a free consultation, please call 212-736-5300.

For more on the rights of undocumented workers, consider watching these videos.


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