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I’ve Been Injured on the Job and I’m a Non-Legal Resident. Help!

October 26, 2016

Don’t panic just yet. It’s common for people to assume that non-legal residents won’t receive the same workers’ compensation benefits or anything for that matter, but that’s not the case. In most circumstances, employees without a legal status are entitled to the same workers’ compensation benefits as legal citizens.

In North Carolina, workers’ compensation does not allow for any discrimination based on legal status in the United States. According to the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act,

“The term ‘employee’ means every person engaged in an employment under any appointment or contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, including aliens, and also minors, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed…”

North Carolina courts take this matter very seriously, and have made their point in recent cases. In 1999, a non-legal citizen from Honduras was injured at his employer’s construction company in Raleigh. In the end, the courts agreed that despite being an illegal resident, he was entitled to the same benefits as any legal citizen. This is because, just like them, he was an active employee. Remember: if a company employs you, then they have agreed to pay workers’ compensation while you’re on the job. It doesn’t matter how the employment agreement was documented—you are covered for any injuries even if nothing was put in writing.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief, keep in mind that some employers and insurance companies may try to convince you otherwise, or try to settle your claim for much less than you’re entitled to. Some employers flat out lie just to avoid paying benefits. If this is happening to you, or if you know someone who is going through this tough situation, we suggest getting an attorney involved.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, every employer is equal. You have the right to receive benefits regardless of your legal status. If you’re having trouble collecting your settlement from your employer, or are in conflict due to your non-legal status, get in touch with a workers’ comp attorney immediately, such as the lawyers at The Workers’ Compensation Law Firm.  Our team of attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience in situations like yours, and will stand behind you as we work through your case.

Don’t try to handle this on your own. We want to help! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers. Let’s get the benefits you deserve and protect your rights.