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Seasoned Sacramento Injury Attorneys

Does Workers’ Comp Cover Non-Citizen Employees?


Workers’ compensation in California covers virtually every employee in the state, but does this include non-citizen employees?

This is an important question to address because many non-citizen employees – particularly undocumented workers – work in some of the most dangerous industries like construction and agriculture. These jobs are not only physically demanding, but they pose all sorts of injury and illness risks from heavy machinery to toxic chemicals.

If you aren’t a U.S. citizen and get hurt on the job, does workers’ compensation cover you just the same? As it turns out, yes: green card holders and undocumented immigrants alike can file for workers’ compensation benefits in California.

That said, these workers are not eligible for temporary disability benefits when they can access modified work. Likewise, they can’t receive supplemental job displacement benefits if they can find permanent work.

Employers who can’t offer injured non-citizen workers modified or permanent work must pay the benefits unless the employee’s unable to work due to their immigration status. Typically, this situation occurs when an employer discovers an employee is undocumented after their injury.

What If an Employee Lied about Their Right to Work?

Employers can usually successfully challenge workers’ compensation claims by asserting that the employee made false statements about the incident. This, however, doesn’t extend to any false statements the employee may have made about their immigration status or right to work.

The difference is that the employee lied about their right to work, not the injury itself. If a lie about the injury is told, then it is fraud.

How Can Undocumented Workers Obtain Benefits?

If you are undocumented and were injured while at work, you can benefit from working closely with an attorney on your workers’ compensation matter. With representation from Smolich and Smolich, you can take the necessary steps toward ensuring you have the financial resources to receive care and recover from your injuries.

For more information, contact Smolich and Smolich online.