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New York Illegal Worker Accident Lawyer

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Many undocumented immigrants come to the United States to work hard and earn a living to support their loved ones. Many end up doing construction work in New York.  However, due to their undocumented status, these workers are frequently forced to take on dangerous jobs with inadequate safety precautions in place. Undocumented workers can often feel vulnerable; the fear of job loss, deportation, and other punishments can make workers hesitant to complain about unsafe work conditions, even when those conditions are obvious. And when hurt on a jobsite, undocumented workers are frequently afraid to report their injuries.  Additionally, undocumented workers, sometimes referred to as illegal workers, may be unfamiliar with the rights they have under U.S. state and federal laws.

At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we are here to help you.  We want to represent you regardless of where you are from or what your immigration status is.  If you have been hurt, call us right away. Our consultation with you is free of charge and completely privileged and private.  We will explain your rights and ease your concerns.  Our sole focus is protecting the rights of our clients and getting them the compensation they deserve.  New York State laws protect all workers, including undocumented workers who are injured in work-related accidents and allow them to receive workers’ compensation benefits and obtain compensation through personal injury lawsuits. This process can be very complicated, as are the laws that govern construction and other workplace accidents, so it is always in an injured worker’s best interest to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer for assistance.

Poorly regulated job sites can be incredibly dangerous to workers. If you were injured in a workplace accident as a result another party’s negligent behavior, you may be able to receive compensation. Call the work accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy by dialing 212-736-5300 to receive a free, no-obligation consultation.

Illegal/Undocumented Workers’ Rights

Workers across all industries in the U.S., regardless of immigration status, have the right to a safe work environment. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers are legally obligated to keep their employees safe. Employer obligations include, but are not limited to:

  • Examining workplace conditions to make sure they comply with OSHA standards
  • Ridding the workplace of serious recognized hazards
  • Providing employees safe and appropriate tools and equipment
  • Warning employees of potential hazards
  • Providing employees with safety training in a language they understand

Sadly, it is common for employers to overlook their own responsibilities and cut corners when working with undocumented immigrants. A study by the U.S. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found that immigrant workers are 15 percent more likely to be fatally injured in work-related accidents than native-born workers. Because of their vulnerable status, migrant workers are more likely to engage in dangerous work for fear of losing the opportunity for income. In addition to worse conditions, undocumented workers may endure longer hours and lower pay than native-born workers.

Recognizing the precarious situation that many migrant workers find themselves in, various states have put forward laws that protect illegal workers who are injured due to unsafe workplace conditions. For example, in New York State, undocumented workers have the ability to file for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured on the job.  In addition to workers’ compensation, illegal workers have the right to file a lawsuit if they are injured, form or join a labor union to negotiate better working conditions, and cannot lawfully be discriminated against in the workplace.

It is important to note that receiving some benefits may become challenging under certain circumstances. For instance, a worker who submitted false documents to their employer during the hiring process may (or may not) compromise their right to workers’ compensation benefits. It is best to consult a lawyer with extensive experience representing injured workers to determine the best path forward.

Undocumented Workers in Construction

Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction workers account for one in every five workplace deaths. The risks are even greater for non-union workers who typically have fewer benefits, many of whom are undocumented. Between 2006 and 2016, about 50 percent of all workers on non-union construction sites were Hispanic or Latino versus just 30 percent on union sites.

When job site leaders neglect necessary safety measures, laborers are exposed to dangerous job sites that hold a great risk for serious injury. Some of the most common accidents on construction sites include falls, electrocutions, struck-by accidents, and caught-in/between accidents. Illegal construction workers are generally less likely to have the same protections to avoid these types of accidents as native-born workers, especially those who are members of a union. Due to their immigration status, they are usually more afraid to protest unsafe conditions for fear of being fired or even deported.

However, in New York State, Labor Laws 240 and 241 are in place to protect all construction workers from unsafe work conditions, regardless of immigration status. These laws protect workers by placing the responsibility for safety practices at construction sites on site owners and general contractors. Undocumented construction workers have as much right as anyone else to sue for work injuries caused by Labor Law violations.

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), it is illegal for employers to knowingly hire undocumented migrants. It is also illegal for undocumented migrants to submit false documents in order to secure a job. However, if an undocumented worker did not knowingly do anything to break the law, then the IRCA cannot prevent them from recovering compensation for injuries suffered while doing a job they were hired to do.

If a worker is injured on the job, their first priority should be seeking medical attention. Prompt medical attention not only allows injury victims to receive quick treatment but also provides medical documents that prove an injury occurred. In addition to seeking treatment, the injured worker should alert their employer of their injury and explain what happened. If possible, you should also take photographs or videos to document the area in which you were hurt or the dangerous condition that caused your injury.  Also, if you can, get the names and phone number of any witnesses.  Sadly, we have seen many occasions where an employer tries to cover up an accident involving an undocumented worker and pretend that it never actually occurred.  Collecting evidence in the immediate aftermath of your accident can be very useful later on to prevent these unscrupulous employees from successfully compromising your case.  Once the injury has been recorded, the injured worker should seek the assistance of an experienced construction accident lawyer – like Block O’Toole & Murphy – who can guide them through the next steps to seek compensation.

Accident Lawyers Who Will Fight for You

In order to succeed in obtaining compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party will need to be able to prove four elements:

  • The at-fault party owed the injured party a duty of care
  • The at-fault party breached this duty of care
  • The at-fault party’s negligence caused the victim’s injury
  • The injured party incurred measurable damages as a result of the accident

Every case is different. Having a lawyer on your side who will comb through the details of your case and guide you through the lawsuit process is invaluable, especially if you are navigating the process as an undocumented worker.

The Law Firm of Block O’Toole & Murphy is dedicated to helping all workers obtain justice for their injuries. Our results* for undocumented construction workers include:

  • $5,885,000 jury verdict in a Queens case for a non-union undocumented laborer who was hurt when he fell from a ladder precariously placed on scaffolding
  • $2,250,000 settlement for a worker who suffered back injuries in a fall at a Manhattan construction site
  • $1,750,000 settlement for an undocumented worker who suffered arm, wrist, and back injuries in a ladder and scaffold fall on a Queens job site
  • $1,350,000 recovery for a worker who suffered amputations of three fingers when his hand became trapped while performing construction work

At Block O’Toole & Murphy we also take an interest in the laws and how they apply to undocumented workers.  For example, firm Partners David L. Scher and Stephen J. Murphy published a well-read article in the New York Law Journal entitled “Can Injured, Undocumented Construction Workers Recover Lost Wages?”.  This article explored the relevant case law and explained that undocumented workers, even those who submitted false documentation at the time of employment, still may be able to recover lost wages in their personal injury case if their employer failed to comply with their legal responsibilities under the IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act).  Our firm is particularly well suited, through our deep level of experience, skill and compassion to navigate a case for any undocumented worker injured on a job site.

So if you are an undocumented worker who was injured on the job, learn more about your rights and options under U.S. law. Call the experienced construction site injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL consultation at 212-736-5300. You can also contact us online.

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*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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Contact Block O’Toole & Murphy for a free legal consultation today. Simply fill out the short contact form below or call us locally at 212-736-5300.