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Workers’ Compensation Rights

Posted by attorney Lisa Lanier

The most dangerous jobs in America are performed by immigrant workers, many of them Hispanic. Sadly, many employers try to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits when the worker is not documented.

As employable workers, employees of any business have rights under the law. Do not be fooled; the law in many states is clear and it cites the fact that no one may be denied workers’ compensation benefits due to lack of citizenship. Along the same lines, no one can be deported for making a workers’ compensation claim. It is also illegal to fire an employee in retaliation for making a claim of this nature. Furthermore, opposing counsel is not allowed to report an undocumented worker to authorities (ICE) in order to gain an unfair advantage in a case.

Employers also try to avoid payment of benefits by hiding their true identity from the workers. Some employers use handlers to round up workers and bring them to a large, dangerous work site. When a worker is injured he may only know the first name of the handler and nothing more. There are important steps a worker can take now before an injury happens. Learn the name of the company you are working for and write down the necessary information so you can then use it in any case you may build. Know the names of the general contractor if you work on a construction site. If the employer fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance, the general contractor may have to pay for the injuries. Know the name of your supervisor and the address of any job site where you are working. With the prevalence of smart phones, workers may want to take a picture of the job site and the employer’s vehicle with their phone. Having this information will help ensure that the employer can be identified and held responsible for the workplace injury and compensation.

Many workplace injuries are catastrophic and financially devastating to the injured workers’ family. Workers should not be tricked or bullied into giving up the benefits provided by the Workers’ Compensation Act that may include death benefits to the family of workers who are killed on the job including funeral expenses. Other benefits may include weekly wage payments while out of work, payment of medical bills, and lump sum payments for permanent use of body parts and for settlement of the claim. Claims must be filed in a timely manner or the right to file may be lost forever.

No matter what the specific circumstances of your case may be, it is almost guaranteed that if an employer has denied your legal rights to workers’ compensation in the event of a workplace accident and injury, you are entitled to take legal action. This is often best done under the guidance of a legal professional. With the help of a North Carolina personal injury attorney, you can successfully file a workers’ compensation claim and determine how your employer should contribute to the injuries that you incurred while on the job.

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