Showing posts with label Undocumented Workers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Undocumented Workers. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Can I still get benefits if I am an undocumented worker?

Can I still get benefits if I am an undocumented worker?
by Attorney Diana Robles

Absolutely!  Immigration status of a worker is not a factor for Workers’ Compensation benefits in Arizona.  In fact, Arizona laws expressly cover undocumented workers in its workers compensation statutes.  The Arizona Workers Compensation Act defines covered employees as “every person in the service of an employer … including aliens and minors legally or illegally permitted to work for hire …” A.R.S. 23-901(6)(b).  There is no reduction of benefits for not being a legal resident.

The Arizona workers compensation system is a no fault system, which entitles the injured worker to necessary medical treatment, in addition to 66 2/3 of their average monthly wage, when they can’t work because of their injury.  It is very important to report the injury to the employer promptly when you are injured.

If you or somebody you know is injured on the job or facing a disability that will keep them out of work for 12 months or more, call Snow, Carpio & Weekley toll-free number at 855-325-4781 to schedule a free consultation in one of our office located around the state. Or, we are happy to schedule a consult over the phone if you are unable to come into an office in person. You may also visit our website at

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Big Win in Workers Compensation Claim for Undocumented Worker

I recently received a Favorable Decision in a claim where the insurance carrier was attempting to avoid paying benefits because they had "found out" that my client (who had worked there 10 years) was an undocumented immigrant.  First of all, I refuse to call decent, hardworking people "illegal aliens".  If that offends you, find another workers compensation lawyer.  But I digress.  The carrier argued that my client's inability to work was not a result of his industrial injury, but rather because of his legal status, and that, if he were legal, they would have work available for him, resulting in no lost wages and no compensation. 

The judge, thankfully, did not agree with this argument.  While he found that my client did have a minimal earning capacity, his industrial injury did contribute to his loss of earnings irrespective of his immigration status.  He awarded compensation back to the date that the company "found out" he was undocumented and fired him.  (I was reminded in the scene in the movie Casablanca where the governor is "shocked, shocked to find out that there is gambling in Casablanca!) 

I don't care what the legal status of an injured worker is.  If he or she sustains an injury on the job and is unable to work and provide for their family, we will fight very aggressively for his or her benefits.  This is equally true in the case of documented workers where the Employer says that they were fired "for cause" and therefore aren't entitled to benefits. 

Chad T. Snow is a workers compensation attorney in Phoenix and Tucson Arizona.  He can be reached at (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000 or on his website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why Do Illegal Aliens Get Workers Comp in Arizona?

O.K., I live in Arizona - we don't have the best reputation for tolerance, love, and racial harmony.  Well then why does our legislature cover illegal aliens injured on the job?  The answers are many and very complex. 

First, you must understand a little history of Arizona Workers Compensation.  Before 1961, an employee who was injured as a result of his employer's negligence was able to sue the employer in a Tort Personal Injury suit.  In 1961, the Arizona Work Comp Act was changed to give employers immunity from these suits - it limited an injured worker's remedy to the Workers Compensation system.  Personal injury claims are usually much more lucrative than workers compensation claims.  (Why then do I do workers compensation law and not personal injury law???) 

The legislature knows that if undocumented workers were taken outside of the Arizona workers compensation system, they would have the right to sue their employers in tort, thus exposing Arizona employers to significantly higher claims for their workers' injuries.  Some of my more cruel nativist friends might ask, well then we'll just pass a law that makes it impossible for them to sue!!!  Not so fast - that right is guaranteed by the Federal government and the Constitution.  This protection from Tort lawsuits for employers is the first reason that undocumented aliens can get Arizona workers compensation benefits. 

Another important policy reason is that if illegal aliens weren't covered, it would give unscrupulous employers a perverse incentive to hire MORE illegal workers - since they would know that these workers couldn't file claims against them and would keep their work comp costs down.  This would take jobs away from legal workers.  These same employers also wouldn't have incentives to maintain safe workplaces if they hired workers who couldn't file claims. 

The final policy reason that the legislature has considered is that covering ALL injured workers keeps the costs of workplace accidents where they should be:  on the industries that employ the workers and profit from their labor.  Otherwise, the costs of treating these workers would be passed off to hospitals, private insurance, and public benefits. 

Every year, extremists in the legislature (Russell Pearce) try to change this portion of the statute.  The fact that all of the insurance companies, major employers, and medical groups oppose them doesn't matter.  Little do they realize that there are many good reasons for covering all workers injured on the job in Arizona. If you or anyone you know has questions about illegal alien workers' compensation in Arizona, contact our lawyer group at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.