Generally, all injured workers whose employer has workers’ compensation or is required by the state to have workers’ comp insurance have the right to file a claim after being hurt on the job. All states allow this, as the states know that whether they like it or not, undocumented immigrants are an important part of the United States economy. Many employers, whether right or wrong, rely on this labor in the hospitality industry, the restaurant industry, the construction industry and more. No matter how someone feels about this reality, states recognize that it is essential for an injured person to have access to medical treatment and a portion of lost wages after a job accident. However, Florida immigrants are facing a large problem due to a loophole in this law that is allowing police officers to use the workers’ comp filing against them for deportment proceedings.
In the Florida workers’ comp law, it is a crime to file a claim using a false identification. Insurance companies that review workers’ comp claims have actually been turning people into the police to avoid having to pay out workers’ comp benefits. This is not only terrible for the employee, who is already injured and will have other difficulties, but the employer, who has lost an employee and the economy as a whole. Further, many of these immigrants have their own families in this country that they support through their employment. Deportation of the breadwinner will seriously harm these remaining family members, who may fall into poverty and then become even more dependent on the states for assistance.
Undocumented workers and immigrants already have enough to fear in today’s political climate without having to further worry about being deported after being seriously injured at work. Anyone injured at work, whether a citizen, resident, work permit holder or undocumented immigrant should always speak to a lawyer after being hurt. A consultation with a lawyer is 100% confidential, and the attorney can guide the person towards their best options moving forward.