Can Undocumented Workers Sue?
If you are an undocumented worker who has suffered an injury due to your employer’s negligence or due to any third party’s negligence, you might be wondering whether you have the right to sue the at-fault party and how that might impact your status.
The short answer to those two common questions is this – yes, you absolutely have the right to sue and it does not impact your status. With the help of an experienced New York personal injury attorney, you can file a claim to get workers’ compensation as well as other benefits you might be entitled to.
Why Undocumented Workers Are Hesitant to Sue
The primary reason why many undocumented workers are hesitant to file a New York workers’ compensation claim or a civil claim for a work-related injury is that they believe they are not entitled to these rights due to their immigration status. They also believe that if they file a civil claim against their employer – or anyone else for that matter – they could be arrested and deported.
This is why many undocumented workers put up with unsafe working conditions, refuse to report work-related injuries, and hesitate to file a civil claim – even if they suffer serious injuries.
The truth is that labor laws in New York are equally applicable to all workers – regardless of their immigration status.
Rights of Undocumented Workers under New York Law
New York is one of the few states in the country where undocumented workers enjoy the same rights as their documented counterparts. Appellate courts in New York have consistently ruled that undocumented workers cannot be denied the rights that documented workers enjoy solely based on their immigration status.
In 2006, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in a case entitled Gorgonio Balbuena v. IDR Reality LLC that a person cannot be deprived of their right to file a civil claim just because they happen to be an undocumented immigrant.
Similarly, in a case entitled Stanislaw Majlinger v. Casino Contracting Corp, the court ruled that federal laws – the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 in particular – do not preempt or supersede New York’s civil laws, which guarantee equal rights to all workers regardless of their immigration status.
Damages You Are Entitled to As an Undocumented Worker
If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you can receive the same benefits that a documented worker is entitled to. If you file a tort claim, you might be entitled to receive:
- Medical expenses
- Cost of rehabilitation
- Cost of long-term care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Looking to File a Claim? Let Our New York Personal Injury Attorneys Help You!
At the Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff, we have a long and proud history of fighting for the rights of undocumented workers who have contributed immensely to New York.
Our founder – Michael S. Lamonsoff – is one of the most successful civil litigators in the state and serves on the board of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Under his leadership, our firm has recovered over half a billion dollars in damages for our clients over the years.
If you are an undocumented worker who needs to file a personal injury claim, call us today at 212-962-1020 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation with an accomplished New York personal injury attorney from our firm.