Now more than ever, undocumented people are concerned for their safety and their immigration status. This can prevent undocumented people from coming forward in the event of a crime or a civil matter, especially when they are unsure of how the law will apply to their situation. Compound that with the confusing nature of workers’ compensation claims, and many undocumented people might not even want to bother making a claim, as they may be ineligible for workers’ comp. But what’s the truth?
The answer to the question at hand here, can undocumented workers receive workers’ compensation benefits, is yes. Everyone working in Illinois has the same rights under Illinois law, whether they have citizenship or not. So if you’re in an accident at work—car accident, slip, and fall, heavy machinery accident, or even sustain a repetitive use injury—you are entitled and permitted to receive workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of your immigration status. The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that employers cannot deny workers’ compensation benefits to their employees because of their status as an undocumented worker.
As an undocumented person, you should definitely seek a lawyer when filing a workers’ compensation claim, in case your employer tries to (unlawfully) deny you workers’ compensation benefits. While alerting someone to your status as undocumented can feel risky and scary, an ethical attorney will respect your confidentiality and never reveal your immigration status to anyone or any organization or entity without your permission.
If your English language skills are limited or you don’t speak English, you should also consider finding an attorney that speaks your language. At the Epstein Law Firm, for example, every one of our employees is fluent in Spanish. This allows us to best serve our clients, many of whom speak only Spanish, without the necessity, expense, and other issues that can result from using a translator.
You should never be afraid to speak to an attorney because of your immigration status. The Epstein Law Firm specializes in working with undocumented aliens, and we welcome you to contact our office to speak to us in confidence.