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Help is Possible After an Injury. Contact a New York City Attorney for an Undocumented Construction Worker

Construction work is the most dangerous occupation in New York City, especially if you are an undocumented worker. There are approximately 725,000 undocumented immigrants living in New York, many of whom work in the construction industry.

Unfortunately, undocumented construction workers are sometimes more likely to be injured on a job site because they are often pressured to do the most dangerous job, and some lack proper safety equipment.

If you are an undocumented worker who has been injured on a construction site, our construction accident lawyer Brian J. O’Connor is here to help. At The O’Connor Law Firm, we represent injury victims regardless of their immigration status. We are committed to helping hard-working construction workers in New York City and Staten Island obtain the compensation they deserve. Call (212) 566-4868 to schedule a free consultation today.

Common Causes of Undocumented Worker Accidents

While the construction industry accounted for over a third (34%) of all fatal occupational industries in New York City in 2017 and 2018, undocumented workers are often directed to performed the most dangerous jobs.  Some examples of the types of accidents that undocumented workers may suffer include:

  • Falls from heights
  • Scaffolding accidents
  • Ladder falls
  • Struck by falling objects or equipment
  • Demolition and excavation accidents
  • Electrocution injuries
  • Crane collapses
  • Hoist accidents
  • Heavy machinery accidents
  • Slip, trip and fall accidents
  • Caught in between accidents
  • Forklift accidents
  • Window washer accidents
  • Unsafe workplaces
  • Industrial Code violations

Undocumented Worker Accidents Can Cause Life-Altering Injuries

Due to the extremely dangerous nature of construction work and the heights and heavy machinery that are often involved, every undocumented worker accident has the potential to cause life-altering injuries that may make it difficult to provide for your family financially.  Some of these injuries include:

If you or a loved one has suffered an undocumented worker injury on a construction site, contact The O’Connor Law Firm today so that you can understand your rights and know your legal options. We are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.  Call us at 212-566-4868 today for a free case evaluation.  We don’t get paid unless and until we obtain a recovery on your behalf.

Are Undocumented Construction Workers in New York City Eligible for Compensation?

Your immigration status does not matter when receiving compensation for a workplace injury. Undocumented construction workers have the same rights as U.S. citizen and authorized immigrant workers to file a personal injury lawsuit and/or pursue a workers’ compensation claim:

  • Workers’ compensation. Under New York law, you have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits through your employer’s insurance company if you have been hurt at work, no matter your legal or immigration status.
  • Personal injury lawsuit. You may also be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit, even if you are an undocumented worker in New York City. However, in order to recover damages through a lawsuit, you will have to prove that the construction accident occurred because of a violation of one of New York’s labor laws or the negligence of someone other than your employer.

Workers’ comp benefits will cover your medical expenses and partial lost wages. By contrast, if you win your personal injury lawsuit, you can be compensated for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. 

Can an Undocumented Construction Worker Sue Their Employer?

No, if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you cannot sue him for workplace injuries unless your employer engaged in egregious conduct or intentionally caused your injury. This rule applies to all workers in New York regardless of their immigration status.

However, when an undocumented construction worker suffers an on-the-job injury because of a third party’s negligence or carelessness, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit after an Undocumented Construction Worker Accident

Under New York law, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the general contractor or property owner as well as other negligent subcontractors. In order to sue the contractor or property owner for your injuries, you must prove a violation of one of New York’s Labor Laws:

  • Labor Law Section 200. You can sue the general contractor or property owner who failed to take reasonable safety precautions at the job site if you can prove that their negligence resulted in your construction accident.
  • Labor Law Section 240(1), or the “Scaffolding Law.” You can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a contractor or building/property owner if they failed to follow adequate safety practices to prevent gravity-related construction accidents, including falls from heights and being struck by objects.
  • Labor Law Section 241(6). You can file a lawsuit against the general contractor or property owner who failed to take reasonable measures to protect you from hazards on the job in violation of New York’s Industrial Code.

Can You Be Deported for Filing a Claim or Lawsuit?

If you are an undocumented construction worker in New York City who has been injured at work, you may fear that filing a claim or lawsuit could get you deported. In fact, you might have even been bullied or intimidated not to file a claim or lawsuit under the threat of deportation.

Remember: When seeking compensation for a work-related injury, immigrant construction workers without a work permit have the same rights as native-born construction workers.

Unfortunately, some employers take advantage of their construction workers’ immigration status to discourage them from applying for workers’ compensation benefits or even consulting with a lawyer about their legal options.

Under New York law, employers are prohibited from threatening or retaliating against their employees who file workers’ compensation claims or report workplace safety violations. It is also illegal for employers to threaten to deport their undocumented construction workers for filing a workers’ comp claim or personal injury lawsuit.

If you fear deportation for seeking compensation for your injury at work, contact our New York City construction accident lawyer at The O’Connor Law Firm right away to protect your rights.

Types of Damages Available for Undocumented Construction Workers

Compensation for a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Regardless of your immigration status, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if your injury occurred at work. Under New York’s workers’ compensation law, injured workers are entitled to the following types of damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • A portion of lost wages (two-thirds your average weekly wage)
  • Burial and funeral expenses in the event of a fatal construction accident

Since construction accidents involving undocumented workers usually result in catastrophic and devastating injuries, these benefits may not be enough to cover all of your losses and expenses.

Compensation for a Personal Injury Claim

You may recover additional damages through a personal injury lawsuit against a property owner or contractor. As discussed earlier, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a third party if you can prove a violation of:

  • Labor Law Section 200
  • Labor Law Section 240(1)
  • Labor Law Section 241(6)

If you pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation costs, including physical and occupational therapy
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress

The types of damages and the value of your personal injury case will depend on the severity of your injury, the type of labor law violation, your actual damages, and the specific circumstances of your accident. Speak with a New York City undocumented construction worker accident lawyer Brian J. O’Connor to evaluate your particular situation and determine the value of your case.

Steps to Take After a Construction Accident as an Undocumented Worker

If you are an undocumented worker who has experienced an injury on the construction site, it is critical to take the following steps to preserve your right to recover damages:

  1. Seek medical attention. You should get medical care to determine the full extent of your injury and document that the injury occurred at work.
  2. Report your injury. You must notify your employer or supervisor of your construction accident. Under New York law, you must report your injury within 30 days of the accident date. If you want to sue a negligent contractor or property owner, you have three years to bring a personal injury lawsuit (New York CPLR § 214).  Time limits are shorter against public entities.
  3. Identify the witnesses. If your co-workers or bystanders saw what happened, you should talk to them and write down their contact information. Their witness statements can support your claim.
  4. Preserve evidence. It is critical to preserve evidence immediately after the construction accident. The lack of evidence can make it difficult to prove that you were injured on the job.
  5. Contact a construction accident lawyer. Let a skilled construction accident lawyer conduct an investigation, hire experts, preserve evidence, and fight for the compensation you deserve while you recover from your injuries.

The O’Connor Law Firm Can Help You Get The Justice You Deserve For Your Undocumented Worker Accident Claim

Schedule a free consultation with our New York City undocumented worker accident lawyer at The O’Connor Law Firm to help you get compensated for your injury. You should not fear deportation.

Do not let your employer or others intimidate you. You need an experienced and results-driven attorney to protect your rights. Call (212) 566-4868 or complete our contact form for a free case evaluation. 

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