Workers’ Compensation for Non-Legal Residents
A common misconception among injured workers who do not have legal status is that they are not protected by North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law. In many circumstances, however, these individuals are entitled to the same benefits as any other injured worker.
This point has been made clear in recent years by the North Carolina Courts. In a 1999 case, a worker from Honduras was injured while working for a construction company. Although this individual did not possess a valid green card or social security number, the Court of Appeals ruled that an employee should be considered any person engaged in employment, including aliens. In addition, the Court stated that the General Assembly who makes the laws meant to
include individuals like the one injured under the protection of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Therefore, if you have been injured on the job, factors other than your legal status will determine whether you are entitled to benefits. For example, in order for an employer to be required to have workers’ compensation insurance, that employer must employ three or more full time employees. If you are an agricultural worker, your employer must employ 10 or more full-time non-seasonal workers to require coverage. If you still have questions as to whether you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, you can contact an attorney who handles these cases or the North Carolina Bar Association.