Believe it or not, the answer is yes. In Virginia, if an employer hires and employs an undocumented worker, and that worker gets injured in the course of his or her employment, arising out of the employment, they can get medical benefits and possibly wage loss benefits. If the injury is serious enough to render the undocumented worker totally unable to work, they will likely be paid wage loss benefits if the claim is compensable. However, if they have any ability (residual capacity) to work, they will likely not receive wage benefits. This is because they would likely be required to look for a light duty job (marketing) in order to receive wage loss benefits. An undocumented worker cannot lawfully look for work in Virginia & therefore would be ineligible for wage loss benefits.
As for medical benefits, they would likely have to be paid by the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier. If they were not paid, this could encourage employers to hire more undocumented workers since they would not have to provide medical benefits like they would with lawfully employed workers. Lawmakers do not want to create an incentive for employers to hire undocumented workers by allowing them to escape from providing medical benefits for their injured workers. So, while it might seem wrong that workers coming here illegally would receive benefits, it is also wrong to create an incentive for employers to hire undocumented workers.
These statements are for general information purposes only and not considered specific legal advice. Mr. Shoen would need to meet with you individually to ensure client confidentiality and would need additional information not provided in this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney directly for legal advice.
To learn more about the Law Office of Darren Shoen, or to speak with a lawyer, visit their website at shoenlaw.com.