Undocumented Aliens May Sue for Work Injuries

If you are an undocumented worker in the U.S. and you are injured on the job, you can file a lawsuit in civil court to recover damages. There are two limitations on your right to sue. First, the injury must have been caused by someone other than your employer or co-worker. Second, the documents you submitted to obtain work authorization must not contain false statements knowingly made by you.

Foreign-born workers in the U.S. often work in transportation, construction, and maintenance. Because these types of occupations are often dangerous, immigrant workers are more likely than native-born workers to be injured on the job. Furthermore, undocumented workers will often take on high-risk work assignments because they are afraid they will be fired if they refuse.

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) it is unlawful for employers to knowingly hire illegal aliens and unlawful for illegal aliens to submit false or forged identity documents to obtain employment. As long as you did not knowingly do anything to violate the law, IRCA does not prevent you from recovering lost wages if you are injured on the job, even if you are undocumented.

If you are an undocumented worker injured on the job, you should discuss your case with a reputable, experienced attorney as soon as possible.