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Undocumented workers eligible for workers' compensation

New York is a large and diverse state. People come to New York from all over the world with dreams of being able to provide for their families and live the American dream. While many New Yorkers are immigrants that went through the proper immigration channels, some are undocumented. While their immigration status might be different, their dreams are not.

It is unlikely that these dreams include workplace injuries or accidents. Fortunately, workers' compensation is available for all New York workers injured on the job.

While some undocumented immigrants may worry that they do not qualify for workers' compensation, this is not true. Workers' compensation laws in New York specifically say that all New York workers are entitled to compensation for workplace injuries regardless of their immigration status. This means that even if injured workers are lacking documentation, they should still receive proper compensation for their injuries.

Furthermore, the New York courts have said that undocumented immigrants are entitled to collect compensation on personal injury claims. This means that workers can collect damages, like pain and suffering, which they experience after being injured on the job.

These rules are important for every worker in New York to understand. Employers do not have the right to walk all over any employee. They need to provide basic protections-whether or not the workers are undocumented. These protections include proper safety equipment, procedures and training. If these are not provided and an accident occurs the employer is liable. Also, even in situations where all precautions are taken, employers are still responsible for compensating injured employees, often in the form of workers' compensation.


Workers' compensation will provide compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses related to a workplace accident. This money can mean the difference between financial ruin or not for many injured employees.

Source: Irish Central, "Undocumented Irish workers in New York- what are your legal rights if you're injured on the job," Robert Dunne, Aug. 24, 2012

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