Do You Have to Be a Citizen to File
a Worksite Personal Injury Claim?
According to statistics from the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers' Compensation, about 187,600 non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by Texas private industry employers in 2019. Construction workers injured on the worksite are generally entitled to workers' compensation benefits. However, an employee's immigration or citizenship status may pose some concern regarding their ability to file a worksite personal injury claim and recover damages.
Here at my firm, Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, I am dedicated to providing detailed legal guidance and compassionate representation to construction site accident victims. As your legal counsel, I can help you explore all possible legal options to pursue damages and guide you through the process of filing an injury claim. Additionally, as an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, I will advocate for your legal rights and work to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer.
I'm also proud to serve clients across Houston, South Houston, Pasadena, Friendswood, Texas, and the surrounding communities — so call or reach out to my firm today to schedule a free case consultation.
Filing a Worksite Personal Injury Claim
Getting injured on the job can be a scary and overwhelming event. When you're hurt in Texas while on the worksite or in a work-related accident, you are within your rights to seek fair compensation for your injuries. Here are the options available to remedy your situation.
Workers' Compensation Claim
One of the available options to recover damages for your worksite injury is to file a claim under the workers' compensation insurance policy held by your employer. In Texas, workers' compensation allows employees who are injured to gain access to injury benefits quickly. Also, it provides vocational training to employees who are unable to return to their previous job.
Additionally, you can still qualify for compensation under the Texas Workers' Compensation Act even if you were at fault for your workplace injuries. However, employees who receive workers' compensation benefits will give up their legal rights to seek additional compensation from the employer via a personal injury claim.
Personal Injury Claim
You can also pursue damages by filing a personal injury claim against the party responsible for your injuries. To file a personal injury claim In Texas, you need to establish negligence or prove the following elements:
- Your employer owed you a duty of care on the worksite.
- Your employer failed to uphold that duty of care and keep you reasonably safe.
- You sustained injuries because your workplace safety was compromised.
- Your employer's failure was responsible for your injuries.
Under Texas's modified comparative negligence laws, you may still recover damages as long as your share of negligence isn't greater than your employer's (50% or less). However, the compensation you may receive will be reduced by your fault percentage. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in compensation for an accident on the job site, but the court finds you to be 20% at fault for the accident, you will only be eligible to collect $80,000.
Wrongful Death Claim
Under Texas laws, if an employee is killed by the intentional act, omission, or gross negligence of their employer, then the decedent's survivors, including their spouse and children, can bring a wrongful death action against the employer to recover punitive damages (Texas Labor Code Section 408.001).
OSHA and Immigration Status
Workers are covered by the workers' compensation system regardless of their immigration status. OSHA will never ask for the immigration status of a worker. Likewise, workers should never disclose their immigration status. As a matter of fact, an employee's immigration status is completely irrelevant to their rights under OSHA or employers' obligations to provide a safe workplace.
Texas Workers' Compensation
and Immigration Status
Texas' workers' compensation laws specify that coverage is available for undocumented immigrants who are injured on the job. An employee does not need to have legal immigration status before bringing a workers' compensation claim in Texas.
While it is illegal for an employer to knowingly hire an undocumented worker under federal laws, an employee's citizenship or immigration status cannot prevent an injured employee from being protected or receiving injury benefits under Texas law. Coverage is available for illegal or undocumented immigrants who are injured on the worksite.
How a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Impacts Immigration Status
Filing a personal injury lawsuit in Texas will not affect a person's immigration status. In fact, when discussing your injury claim or settlement with an insurance provider or their attorney, revealing your immigration status is not actually necessary. Moreover, Immigration and Customs Enforcement won't be automatically notified when you file a civil lawsuit.
Furthermore, insurance providers are not allowed to deny injury claims simply because an injured worker or accident victim is an undocumented immigrant. Likewise, attorneys may not use an injured person's immigration or citizenship status as a weapon against them, as this is considered unethical. Regardless of your immigration status, it is important that you retain an experienced personal injury attorney to protect these rights when pursuing a personal injury claim.
How Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law Can Help
Construction site accidents can have devastating, long-term effects on your physical, mental, and financial health. In Texas, all workers, regardless of their citizenship status, require the same protections against workplace injuries. Therefore, if you have been injured on a worksite, it is imperative that you consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to protect your rights and help you seek fair compensation for your injuries.
Here at my firm, I have the experience and legal resources needed to assist and represent clients who have been injured on the job. As your attorney, I can review and investigate all of the surrounding facts of your unique situation and decide whether to proceed by filing a workers' compensation, personal injury, or third-party liability claim. Using my comprehensive understanding of the laws pertaining to worksite injury claims, I will fight compassionately to protect your rights and help you seek fair compensation.
If you or someone you know has been injured on a worksite, contact my law firm — Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law — today to schedule a one-on-one consultation. I can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel, advocacy, and vigorous representation you need to seek compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and other benefits. My firm proudly represents workers across Houston, South Houston, Pasadena, Friendswood, Texas, and the surrounding communities, so reach out today to schedule a free consultation.