Lawyers for Undocumented Workers in South Florida
Trusted Accident Lawyers Dedicated to Safeguarding the Rights of Undocumented Workers in Palm Beach County and in South Florida
If you are an undocumented worker who has been injured on the job, it’s common for you to have questions about your rights in this country. Put simply, all South Florida residents have certain rights under Florida law, regardless of their immigration status. Undocumented workers have the right to pursue claims for workers’ compensation benefits when injured on the job. Similarly, you have the right to file a personal injury claim under Florida law if someone else’s negligence caused an accident where you were injured.
At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., our experienced South Florida injury lawyers understand what you’re going through if you have been injured on the job while undocumented in this country. In fact, Adriana Gonzalez, one of our founding attorneys, immigrated to the United States as a young child herself. The prospect of appearing in court or filing formal documentation can be terrifying given today’s political climate.
We know that the threat of deportation and ICE raids weigh heavily on your mind and you might feel that pursuing your right to compensation is too risky. We’re here to help you understand your rights and also any restrictions that apply based upon your immigration status. Most importantly, we want you to feel comfortable knowing that you take no risk by coming to us for help. Our experienced accident and injury lawyers are here to help—and we have earned a positive reputation throughout the South Florida Hispanic community to back us up.
We speak both Spanish and English in our office. Because your first consultation is free and we only recover attorneys’ fees if we win compensation for you, you don’t have to worry about how to pay. You can call our office or contact us online to set up your risk-free case evaluation.
Establishing Your Right to Workers’ Compensation as an Undocumented Worker in South Florida
As an undocumented worker, you will undoubtedly face challenges in enforcing your rights. Your employer might try to deny your right to workers’ compensation. Insurance companies might ask uncomfortable questions that they wouldn’t ask if you were documented. Regardless of your immigration status, our office is a safe space where you can tell us what happened. You might be undocumented because:
- You came into this country without authorization,
- Your visa expired,
- Your family immigrated illegally when you were a young child.
Many employers use the element of fear to deny or delay your workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured in the workplace in South Florida. However, the three basic requirements for claiming workers’ compensation have nothing to do with your status as an undocumented worker. In fact, the Florida statute clearly states that aliens are eligible for benefits.
To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, only three rules apply:
- Your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance (as almost all employers do),
- You must be an employee, and
- Your injury must be related to the job.
We understand that these simple requirements become much more complex when you’re worried about your immigration status. Employers may threaten termination or even threaten to report you to the authorities if you attempt to claim benefits. In these cases, it’s important that you talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Respected Injury Lawyers Gonzalez & Cartwright Dedicated to Helping Undocumented Workers in South Florida
The first step to getting back on track is understanding the law and how it applies based upon your immigration status. At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., our South Florida injury lawyers are here to help you:
- Learn about your rights,
- File your workers’ compensation claim,
- Negotiate with an insurance company,
- Understand potential outcomes based upon your undocumented worker status,
- Explore options if your employer has threatened to fire or report you.
You might think it’s not worth risking deportation or losing your job just to get compensation for a workplace injury or an injury caused by someone else’s careless actions. In some cases, however, you might need that compensation to get the medical care you need.
For documented U.S. workers, workers’ compensation benefits cover:
- Medical expenses
- A portion of your lost wages
- Short and long-term disability
However, Florida court decisions have made it more difficult to recover lost future wages as an undocumented worker. Our lawyers can help you understand what you’re entitled to receive. We make sure that our clients understand all of their options so that you can make the most informed decision possible.
Our Top-Rated Accident Lawyers in South Florida Are Here to Fight for Your Rights
The unfortunate reality is that if you’re an undocumented worker in the United States, others might try to take advantage of your fear to deny your rights. Nearly 1 million undocumented immigrants live in Florida, so you’re not alone in feeling reluctant to enforce your rights after an injury. The United States Supreme Court has even held that constitutional protections and rights apply to everyone in this country—documented or undocumented.
Of course, the situation is complicated by today’s political environment. At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., our injury lawyers will never pressure you to file a claim if it isn’t in your best interests. We’re here to help you understand the law and to help you decide if it’s worth filing a claim. If you or a loved one have been injured while undocumented, call or contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Undocumented Worker Status in South Florida
FAQ: Can I be charged with a crime if I claim workers’ compensation benefits and I’m an undocumented worker?
It depends upon the circumstances. What’s most important is that you don’t provide a false Social Security number when claiming workers’ compensation benefits. Providing a false Social Security number to the workers’ compensation insurance company is a felony. If you already gave your employer a false Social Security number when applying for your job, you might still be entitled to benefits because the law is different.
FAQ: What if I didn’t report my wages to the IRS? Am I eligible for workers’ compensation benefits?
Not reporting your wages can complicate matters. Many employers pay undocumented workers in cash. For workers’ compensation purposes, your benefits to cover lost wages are only based on wages that are reported to the federal government for tax purposes. While not reporting your wages won’t eliminate your right to medical benefits, it can reduce the benefits that are provided for lost wages.