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Undocumented and Hurt on the Job – You Have a Right to File for Workers' Compensation

Wooden Gavel and Compensation Book
If you have come to the United States illegally to work, being injured on the job can be a scary time. Not only are you hurt, but you worry that seeking medical treatment may result in revealing your unauthorized status. While there are some employers who try to argue that you are not entitled to be covered under their workers' compensation policy because of your status, they are not telling you the truth. By law, you are just as entitled to file a claim for your injuries as anyone else.
How Do I Know If My Employer Has Workers' Compensation Insurance?
The state of California requires every employer in the state to carry workers' compensation insurance if they have one or more employees. By law, this benefit must cover all workers including those who are parttime. This means that no matter who you are working for, they are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance.
It is a criminal offense for your employer to fail to carry insurance. If they do not have it, they can face fines and jail time. 
Your employer is also required to post a notice somewhere in your workplace providing you information about their coverage and how to get medical care if you have a work-related injury. If they do not post it, They could face up to a $7,000 fine per violation. 
What Happens If My Employer Does Not Have Coverage?
If your employer informs you that they are not covered at the time of your injury, this does not let them off the hook. They are still responsible for paying all of your bills that are related to your injury.
If your employer still refuses to pay, you may be eligible to collect benefits from the Uninsured Employers' Benefit Fund (UEBTF). They will cover you and then go to your employer for reimbursement. There are several steps that you must take in order to file a claim with them, but these are available through their website.
What Benefits Will I Receive From Workers' Compensation?
Depending on your injury or illness, there are several things that you are eligible to receive from workers' compensation. These include:
  • Necessary Medical Care - Not only should you be stabilized and treated at the time of your injury, but you should have access to every service you need including rehabilitative care, in order to be restored back to full health, or reach your maximum medical improvement and/or return to work. 
  • Disability Payments - These fall into two different categories.
    • You should receive temporary disability payments during the time that you are out of work.
    • You may qualify for permanent disability payments if you are unable to return to work.
  • Job Training Benefits - If you are not able to return to the job you were performing prior to your injury, you may qualify for job placement benefits to train you in another area.
  • Death Benefit - If you die as a result of your injury or illness, workers' compensation will pay your dependents a death benefit. The amount of the benefit varies from policy to policy and from employer to employer. 
Once you return to work, the law demands that your employer cannot discriminate against, or fire you for filing workers' compensation.
What Do I Do If My Employer Denies Me Coverage?
Unfortunately, not every employer does what they are required to do by law. If you live in Fresno or Madera County, call Hernandez Law Offices. We have years of experience helping people claim their rights under the law. We will ensure that you get the workers' compensation benefits you are entitled to. Give us a call today.