New York Illegal Worker Accident Lawyer
Many undocumented immigrants come to the United States to work hard and earn a living to support their loved ones. However, due to their undocumented status, these workers are frequently forced to take on dangerous jobs. 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. Additionally, undocumented workers, sometimes referred to as illegal workers, may be unfamiliar with the rights they have under U.S. state and federal laws.
New York State laws protect undocumented workers who are injured in work-related accidents and allow them to receive workers’ compensation benefits or even obtain compensation through personal injury lawsuits. This process can be very complicated, so it is generally in an injured worker’s best interest to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer for assistance. A skilled lawyer will be able to inform clients of their rights and guide them through the legal process to receive fair compensation for their injuries. Just as important, the right lawyer will be able to fight for the injured worker.
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 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 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 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 which 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. Once the injury has been recorded, the injured worker should seek the assistance of an experienced construction accident lawyer 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
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 consultation at 212-736-5300. You can also contact us online.
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*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.