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Riverside Immigrant Workers and Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Fighting for the Rights of All California Workers After a Work-Based Injury

Every California employer is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp provides medical benefits, wage replacement, and other benefits for workers who are injured on the job. California law is very favorable to workers, ensuring coverage in nearly all circumstances. Immigration status should not be a bar to recovery, and if your employer tries to deny you workers’ comp coverage because you are not a citizen, you have the right to fight back.

The workers’ compensation and immigrant rights lawyers at Ochoa & Calderón are ready to help you seek compensation after a work-related injury. If you were hurt while at work, or if you suffer from a work-related illness or injury, you have the right to compensation. Your rights as a California worker do not disappear just because you are not a citizen. Call Ochoa & Calderón today for advice and assistance regarding workers’ compensation claims for noncitizens in California.

California Law: Workers’ Comp for All Injured Workers

In California, all injured workers can recover compensation so long as the following applies:

  • The person is an employee
  • The person is employed by a company that has or should have workers’ comp insurance
  • The person suffers from a work-related illness or injury
  • The worker satisfies workers’ comp administrative requirements, including reporting the injury and filing the claim within the relevant deadlines

Regardless of whether an employee is a citizen, a green card holder, or an immigrant with a temporary work visa, the employee is entitled to workers’ comp benefits for a work-related injury or illness. Workers’ comp coverage applies to full-time, part-time, and even seasonal workers. Benefits available to all workers include:

  • Compensation for the costs of medical care for the work-related illness or injury
  • Temporary disability benefits (e., partial wage replacement)
  • Permanent disability benefits

Workers may be entitled to supplemental job displacement benefits, depending upon their circumstances. The fact that an employee is part-time, seasonal, or not a citizen does not alter their right to collect workers’ comp in California.

Undocumented Workers Can Obtain Workers’ Comp, With Some Limits

California law ensures that all workers can seek workers’ compensation, even if they are undocumented immigrants. Certain limitations do, however, apply to undocumented workers that do not apply to visa-holders or citizens. Specifically, undocumented workers cannot recover temporary disability benefits when “light duty” or “modified work” is available. The employee’s treating physician will decide what work the employee can still perform and which restrictions are necessary based on their injury or illness; if the employer can find work for that employee within those restrictions, the employee must take that work in lieu of temporary disability benefits. Similarly, an undocumented worker cannot recover supplemental job displacement benefits when permanent work is available.

If an employer cannot find modified work for the employee, the worker can get temporary disability until they can return to work. If the worker suffers from a long-term disability as a result of a workplace injury and they are unable to perform permanent work in the same field, the worker can recover supplemental job displacement benefits. If the worker’s inability to work is based on their immigration status, however, then they are not eligible for benefits.

California law explicitly protects undocumented workers against discrimination and abuse in the workplace. Undocumented immigrants who are wrongfully denied benefits can file a lawsuit seeking the benefits they are due. If the employer retaliates against the worker as punishment for filing for benefits or threatens the worker based on their immigration status (e.g., threatens to report them to law enforcement), the worker could have a claim for damages.

Our Riverside Immigrant Worker and Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Are Standing By to Fight for Your Rights

For help getting benefits after an on-the-job injury or workplace illness regardless of your immigration status, call Ochoa & Calderón to discuss your case with a seasoned and thorough California immigrant workers’ comp lawyer. Call 951-901-4444 in Riverside or 844-401-0750 toll-free throughout Southern California.

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