As an undocumented worker who’s been hurt on the job, you may have concerns about your ability to collect worker’s compensation. While your fears are understandable, they’re also very likely unfounded. In reality, you’re probably entitled to full compensation, just like any other employee.
To help clear things up, we’ve identified five common misconceptions about workers’ compensation for undocumented workers. We will clarify them here in detail to help you feel more confident about filing a claim.
MYTH #1 – If I hire an attorney, I’ll get fired.
It’s against the law for your employer to fire you for making a workers’ comp claim or hiring an attorney to help, even as an undocumented worker. Most states, including Arizona, explicitly recognize the legal right of undocumented workers to collect workers’ compensation. A.R.S. § 23-901(6)(b) defines a worker as “every person in the service of an employer… including aliens legally or illegally permitted to work for hire…”
The bottom line is that the American legal system truly was designed for the people, and you have every right to access the legal system without fear of repercussion, even as an undocumented worker.
MYTH #2 – If I win, I’ll get deported out of retaliation.
This is a common misconception, but an easy one to clear up. Filing a workers’ comp claim is actually an administrative process and is limited in scope. In other words, there’s absolutely no communication with other agencies, such as DHS. Filing a claim is within your legal rights and you will not be drawing negative attention to your immigration status because of it.
MYTH #3 – Attorneys cost too much money. I won’t be able to afford this.
This is another fear that’s understandable, considering the reputation surrounding attorneys’ fees, but the way we work is different. When we help you file a workers’ compensation claim, we don’t charge you a dime. Instead, we deal directly with the insurance companies. When you’re awarded your workers’ compensation, we request that it be paid as a monthly or bi-weekly check, and we take 10% of the temporary benefits if we did something to obtain a check for you. Nothing ever comes out of your own pocket. The specific attorney fee breakdown will be explained in your contract with us. Contact our office for further details.
The other way to look at it is to consider how much it costs to be out of a job, without any kind of compensation for your injury. Our small fee comes directly out of the insurance company’s checks and is well worth the security that will come from receiving the benefits you need and deserve.
MYTH #4 – My employer may get upset if I file a claim.
It is understandable that you want to be loyal to your employer, but it’s also this kind of thinking the causes many employees to inadvertently give up their rights.
Filing a claim doesn’t mean you are being disloyal to your employer. Technically, filing a workers’ compensation claim is a right ensured by law. Not only will it protect your rights to compensation, but it will also ensure that everybody, your employer included, is doing things by the book.
No matter how good your relationship with your employer may be, the bottom line is that you have to protect your rights, your finances, and your family. Filing your claim is perfectly within your rights and your employer cannot retaliate against you for doing so.
MYTH #5 – I don’t speak English or understand the legal system. Can I really win this?
These are two of the most unfounded beliefs about workers’ compensation and have absolutely no basis in truth – especially if you hire our firm.
All of our assistants speak fluent Spanish. We’ll discuss the details of the case with you, explain everything in a way that you can understand, and then we handle almost all of the interactions with the appropriate agencies for you. So long as you are responsive to our calls and emails, your language will not be a barrier.
One of the benefits of having an attorney is helping you understand the legal system. As long as you’re honest with us, our expertise and years of experience will take care of the rest. We’ll set you up with a good doctor, right from the start, and take the argument over from there. All that is required of you is transparency and cooperation. The rest is up to us.
Get Legal Help – Our Lawyers are specialized in Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ compensation can be a lifesaver for an employee who’s been hurt on the job. As an undocumented worker, you’re just as entitled to those benefits as anyone else. Attempting to navigate the process alone, though, can be intimidating. Many stay frozen in fear and never file their claim. With our assistance, you can be confident in your right to file a claim.