However you refer to them–Illegal aliens, undocumented workers, illegal immigrants, undocumented immigrants–the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation coverage comes via a contract with an insurance provider that includes employees of a qualifying employer. If that employer chooses to hire, or even unknowingly hires, a worker without a Social Security number, permit, visa, etc., and that worker is injured on the job, the employee may file for workers’ comp benefits. His status as an illegal alien will not bar his recovery of disability benefits or medical care related to his on-the-job injury.
That being said, issues can arise if the employer offers light duty work. The employer can’t use the workers’ comp discovery process to learn the injured worker is an illegal alien, refuse to offer light duty work, and expect to use that as an argument that the worker has refused to attempt light duty such that benefits can be suspended. However, a light duty job requiring a drivers license may be used as unjustifiably refused light duty.
If you are an undocumented worker and have questions about how your employer is treating you after an on-the-job injury, feel free to contact myAtlanta workers’ compensation law office for a consultation. Don’t speak English? Our Atlanta accident attorney office has Spanish translators available to assist as well!