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Can I get workers' compensation if I'm not a citizen?

You don't have to be American to work hard in America. Immigrants, both legal and illegal, are among the hardest working employees in the country. This is especially true in states with high immigrant populations, such as California.

But sometimes working hard means getting hurt. When this happens, many workers rely on their employers' insurance to take care of medical bills and related expenses.

Workers' Compensation Laws In California

Some states have larger employee quotas before an employer must provide workers' compensation insurance. In California, an employer only needs one employee before coverage is required.

It doesn't matter whether that worker is a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or even an illegal immigrant. If the boss gave that person a job, the company needs to provide workers' compensation coverage.

In 2005, one California business tried to deny the claim of an illegal immigrant, but it lost the original case and the appeal. According to the Insurance Journal, three judges confirmed that immigration status does not affect the responsibility an employer has to pay an injured worker.

Filing A Claim Is Much Easier With Skilled Help

Although the law is on your side, it's good to get help filing your claim. Workers' compensation policies often use confusing language. It's hard to understand what the insurance company is saying if English is not your first language.

A qualified lawyer can help you understand your company's policy and your rights under California law. He can stand by you if you have been injured on the job. He can also help you explore visa options if you want to become a legal resident.

Even if you are already a U.S. citizen or have a valid work visa, filing a claim is easier with a lawyer on your side. Even if your human resources department offers their help, a lawyer can lend an extra set of eyes and skill.

What You Need To Do First

First, get the emergency medical care that you need. Then, make sure to record exactly how the injury happened and report it to your boss as soon as possible. Finally, contact an attorney who can help you seek the money and benefits you may deserve.

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