When workers are injured or made ill as a result of their working conditions, the workers’ compensation system allows them to receive benefits awards to cover the costs of medical care, lost wages, and job rehabilitation as needed. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. Although the vast majority of the American workforce is eligible for these benefits, there are some exceptions to this general rule. For example, independent contractors, workers in specialty industries (such as the railroad industry), and workers employed by very, very small businesses are generally not entitled to these benefits. Additionally, as every state is responsible for maintaining its own workers’ compensation system and protocols, some states have excluded certain populations from workers’ compensation coverage.
It’s important to avoid making assumptions about your legal options if you’re hurt or made ill on the job, even if you know that you’re currently ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will be able to evaluate your situation in a risk-free, confidential consultation setting so that you can make informed decisions about any other avenues of legal recourse that you may be able to pursue at this time.
Workers’ Compensation for Non-Americans and Undocumented Americans – The Basics
Undocumented members of the American workforce are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in 31 of the 50 states in the union as well as the District of Columbia. These states are – AZ, CA, CO, CT, (DC), FL, IL, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, and WI. States not featured on this list either exclude undocumented workers from coverage, do not specify whether undocumented workers are covered under state law, or limit their coverage in various ways. As a result, it is particularly important to speak with an experienced attorney about your situation if you’re an undocumented worker living in any state not listed. It is entirely possible that you are covered save for a few conditions. It could also be possible that you’re not covered and need to explore alternative routes to secure compensation. It is also possible that state law doesn’t say one way or another whether you’re covered and that reality won’t impact your benefits claims process as the state doesn’t specifically ask for your immigration status. An attorney can clarify your unique situation.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you’ve been hurt on the job or have developed an occupational illness, please don’t assume that there’s no avenue for you to pursue compensation if you’ve been excluded from workers’ compensation coverage by state law. An experienced lawyer, like a workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, will be able to advise you of possible legal alternatives that you may be able to use to secure any compensation to which you are entitled. Schedule a strings-free, confidential consultation with a law firm today to learn more.