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Can I File a Claim for a Workplace Accident if I’m Not a Citizen?

Mar 18, 2024 | Construction Accidents

If you’re a construction worker who was injured on the job, you may be concerned about filing a claim for compensation if you are not a citizen of the United States. Critically, a worker’s immigration status does not matter when it comes to pursuing a lawsuit for a construction accident. Whether you are a green card holder or are undocumented, it’s important to understand that you have rights — and you may be entitled to seek compensation for the damages you suffered in connection with your work-related injuries.  

Who Can File a Claim for a Workplace Accident? 

If you’re an undocumented worker who was injured on a job site, you might be concerned about reporting your injuries, getting the medical help you need, or filing a claim for compensation. However, your access to Workers’ Compensation benefits and legal recourse in the courts is not restricted due to your immigration status. Whether you entered the country illegally or you once had legal status, you may be eligible to file a claim if you’ve suffered injuries in a workplace accident — regardless of whether your employer tells you otherwise. 

In addition to filing a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits, a construction worker can pursue a personal injury action in some cases. Although you cannot sue your employer due to New York’s Workers’ Compensation laws, you may be able to file a lawsuit if a third party’s negligence caused your accident-related injuries. Importantly, you may also be eligible to file a personal injury action even if you obtained Workers’ Compensation benefits, and in the event your employer failed to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance.                   

Personal Injury Compensation for Undocumented Workers

Construction accidents can be serious and result in catastrophic injuries that require extensive medical treatment and time lost from work. In severe cases involving permanent disability, a worker might not be able to be employed again at all. Workers’ Compensation benefits may cover your accident-related medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. However, they are usually not adequate to cover the full extent of an injured worker’s losses. 

By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover both your economic and non-economic damages, including the following:

  • Unreimbursed medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Future lost earnings
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

There are a variety of third parties who may be held liable for a construction worker’s injuries. Depending on the facts of the case, a lawsuit may be filed against a contractor, sub-contractor, architect, engineer, or equipment manufacturer. But it’s vital to be aware that there is a three-year statute of limitations in place to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, from the date the construction accident occurred. Failure to file within this time frame can forever bar you from obtaining the compensation you deserve.  

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney 

If you are an undocumented worker who was hurt in a construction accident, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney by your side. A diligent personal injury attorney can explain your legal rights and work to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Due to our experience and dedication to clients, The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP regularly obtains substantial settlements and verdicts for construction workers who have been hurt on the job.  

The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP is a personal injury law firm committed to fighting for the rights of accident victims to ensure they get the monetary recovery they deserve for their injuries. Located in Manhattan, our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.




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