Illegal immigrants / Illegal Aliens – Can I bring a Lawsuit?

illegal immigrants

The city and state of New York is home to over a million illegal immigrant (s) from all over the world. According to NYC government “Immigrants comprise 37.2 percent of the city’s population but 44.2 percent of the labor force.” 44.2% of the workforce – that’s close to half the working population in New York City. Every day we see workers, documented and undocumented, working in construction, in our stores, restaurants and offices. Many of them are the commuters on our trains and subways, drivers or bicyclists on the roads and pedestrians on the sidewalks.

When personal injury strikes, it doesn’t discriminate based on status, illegal or undocumented vs documented. Because of their status, many undocumented people are only able to work certain jobs and in many situations, forced to do jobs that others would not because of the pay and/or danger that the job entails. According to the nyc.gov site referenced above, “Despite higher labor force participation and increases in educational attainment, median annual earnings for undocumented immigrants ($25,300) is significantly lower than earnings for U.S.-born citizens ($45,500).”

If you are an illegal immigrant and you’ve been injured in an accident, your status does not prevent you from bringing a claim for personal injury.

What do the Courts say?

The Courts in New York, State and Federal have ruled that if you’ve been injured on the job, your status should not prevent you from seeking legal help and potentially compensation for your injuries.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (ICRA) has held that it’s unlawful for undocumented individuals to submit or use false/forged identity documents to obtain employment and it’s also unlawful for an employer to hire an illegal alien, knowing that he/she is illegal. As long as you have not knowingly or intentionally violated the law in obtaining employment in New York, you should not be prevented from seeking compensation for your loss of earnings, if you were injured on the job.

Let’s take an example, you’re an undocumented construction worker working on a New York construction site and you get injured. First and foremost, in New York you are entitled to apply for workers compensation benefits that provide coverage for your medical treatment and also coverage for loss of earnings for your time out of work. Irrespective of your status, you may also be able to bring a third-party lawsuit against the owner, construction manager and/or general contractor for your injuries. This is where an experienced personal injury

attorney comes in as you need to contact one as soon as possible after a construction accident so that the attorney can advise you of your rights, advise you as to what you’re entitled to and give you the direction you need to make sure that you take care of yourself and your rights. An experienced personal injury attorney will discuss all the facts of your case, how your accident happened and what injuries you sustained. The experienced personal injury attorney will also inquire as to your work history, pay history, how you obtained employment and what personal information was provided in order to obtain employment and can then advise you accordingly.

Construction workers injured on the job is just one example, these accidents can happen to anyone in any walk of life whether it’s in car or truck, on a sidewalk or in a restuarant. There are a number of areas that need to be explored in order to protect your rights and it is crucial that you speak to a personal injury attorney who is familiar with dealing with undocumented individuals who have been injured as a result of negligence in the state of New York.

Call the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Darren T Moore PC for a free consultation at 917-809-7014 to discuss the merits of your case and the issues regarding your status.

What is a Deposition?

Deposition lawyer

A deposition is an examination that is held under oath in relation to the case you are involved in. If you bring a lawsuit because you’ve been injured in a personal injury accident, car accident, construction accident, premises accident for example, one of the stages of bringing that lawsuit will likely include appearing for a deposition. If you are being sued in an action as a Defendant, you will also likely have to appear for a deposition.

When we say an exam, it’s not an exam to test you in any way but it’s simply a process where the other side get to ask questions of you about yourself, your accident and your injuries. We tell everyone of our clients, it’s not a guessing game, its simply an exercise in finding out the information that you have related to your case. The purpose of a deposition is to find out what information that particular witness has and to allow all parties find out the essential facts of the case before going to trial.

Our firm deals with depositions in personal injury actions on a daily basis. For personal injury actions, we always prepare our clients in advance of the deposition and inform them as to why they are doing a deposition and what the deposition entails. We inform them that they will be questioned about their background because this is a personal injury action, and they’re entitled to get to know a little bit about you. In the same token, we are entitled to ask background questions of the Defendant(s) witnesses to get to know about them also. In addition, they will ask you questions about your accident, how it occurred, when it occurred and the details surrounding the accident. They will then ask you questions about your injuries, your medical treatment, and how the injuries from the accident have affected your life.

Where does the Deposition take place? Do I need to appear before a judge?

In order to bring personal injury lawsuit, a deposition is one of the most fundamentally important stages of that lawsuit. It is crucial that you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to prepare you and educate you so that you feel comfortable and prepared before undergoing the deposition.

Most depositions take place in a reporting office, you sit around the table with your attorney and the attorneys for the other side sit across the table and between the two sides, a court reporter or stenographer as they are called will transcribe what is said during the deposition. Since Covid 19 entered our lives, most if not all of our depositions have been conducted remotely over zoom which is very convenient for all sides involved and also allows the witness to feel more comfortable, some do it from the comfort of their own home, some come to their attorney’s offices.

It’s important to note that being questioned in a deposition is the same as being questioned in court because you are under oath, swearing to tell the truth so it’s important that you are truthful and prepared for your deposition.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, a car accident, a construction accident, slip and fall or a trip and fall accident, call the Law Offices of Darren T Moore P.C for a free consultation at 917-809-7014 and speak to our experienced personal injury attorneys who will guide you and direct you along the right path in relation to the steps that need to be taken to protect your interests.

Construction Accident – Trip and Fall

Construction accident lawyer

As we mentioned in our previous blog post regarding slip and fall accidents https://www.injurylawatty.com/our-blog/, according to the United States Department of Labor statistics, out of 4,779 worker deaths in the private industry in 2018, 1,008 occurred in the construction industry. Aptly called the “fatal four,” the four main causes of worker deaths in the construction industry were falls, followed by being struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. The “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (58.6%) the construction worker deaths in 2018.

Many of these falls occur because of carelessness and dangers on job sites, because of the fact that profits and deadlines are prioritized over safety and the employee. The person who sits in the large windowed office is often the person who reaps the benefits of the jobs expedited completion but he/she is not the one who puts themselves in harm’s way to get to that stage. That role is played by the unknowing construction worker who often suffers a fall and subsequent injury because of the shortcuts that were taken on site to get to the stage of completion. “Falls,” be it from a height, through a hole, as a result of slipping on a slippery substance make up a large majority of the reported falls on construction sites but there is also the “trip and fall” that occurs on a job site that causes serious personal injury that includes, fractures, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, orthopedic injury and even death.

If you’ve been injured due to a trip and fall while working at a construction site or project, workers compensation is likely NOT YOUR ONLY OPTION.

Yes, workers compensation will cover your medical treatment and your loss of earnings but you may be entitled to bring an action for personal injury and compensation against the owner and general contractor of the job site because of the dangerous and unsafe condition of the construction site that caused your injury. The Labor Law in New York was enacted to protect construction workers who suffer on the job injuries as a result of dangerous and defective on-site conditions.

You should talk to an experienced construction accident attorney at the Law Offices of Darren T Moore PC who can guide and advise you as to whether you have a valid personal injury claim.

At the Law Offices of Darren T Moore PC, our construction accident attorney’s will evaluate the facts surrounding your accident and can guide and potentially fight for full and fair compensation for your injuries which may include not only past pain and suffering, lost wages and medical but also the future pain and suffering, future loss of earnings and future medical costs.

Labor Law 241(6)

ALL CONTRACTORS AND OWNERS AND THEIR AGENTS, EXCEPT THE OWNERS OF ONE AND TWO FAMILY DWELLINGS WHO CONTRACT FOR BUT DO NOT DIRECT OR CONTROL THE WORK, WHEN CONSTRUCTING OR DEMLISHING BUILDINGS OR DOING ANY EXCAVATING IN CONNECTION THEREWITH SHALL COMPLY WITH THE RULES AND REQUIREMENTS OF THE INDUSTRIAL CODE – Part 23 of Title 12 of the NEW YORK CODES, RULES AND REGULATIONS (NYCRR).

Part 23 deals with an array of different construction activities and situations and this article will focus on § 23-1.7 (e)(1) and (2) which focuses on Protection from Tripping and Other Hazards:

The section states:

(1)   Passageways.   All passageways shall be kept free from accumulations of dirt and debris and from any other obstructions or conditions which could cause tripping. Sharp projections which could cut or puncture any person shall be removed or covered.

(2)   Working areas.   The parts of floors, platforms and similar areas where persons work or pass shall be kept free from accumulations of dirt and debris and from scattered tools and materials and from sharp projections insofar as may be consistent with the work being performed.

Now importantly, what is a working area and what is a passageway is very often case and fact specific and this is where an experienced construction accident attorney comes in. At the Law Offices of Darren T Moore PC, our New York construction accident law firm will conduct an in-depth investigation into your case and the happening of the accident to evaluate if you have a potential cause of action against the owner and general contractor on your construction project.

The statute as referenced above, protects construction workers working on, using and travelling along “passageways” and “working areas” from tripping hazards which include items that are deemed to be an obstruction and even sharp projections like stepping on a nail. For example, if there is debris strewn around the construction site and that debris obstructs your path on site or you step on this debris and step on a “sharp extrusion” like stepping on a nail, you could be entitled to compensation. Again, this is why it’s important to sit down and discuss your accident with an experienced construction accident attorney who can help identify if your accident occurred in a passageway or walkway, if the debris will be deemed to be a dangerous condition or was it “inherent in the work that was been completed at the time.” Our New York Construction accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Darren T Moore PC are familiar with the nuances of the Labor Law and familiar with the specific sections like § 23-1.7 (e)(1) and (2) and can evaluate the facts of your case to determine if there is a potential claim for personal injury and compensation.

This list is not exhaustive but common areas that trip and fall accidents occur on a construction site are:

  • Walkway’s
  • Sidewalk
  • Hallway
  • Work area
  • Passageway
  • Lobby
  • Vestibule
  • Shanty
  • Common areas

Common causes of trip and fall accidents on construction sites include:

  • Debris
  • Planks
  • Building material
  • Sharp extrusions like stepping on a nail
  • Tools
  • Mis leveled sidewalk flag
  • Improperly placed bollards and cones
  • Steel bolts

What to do if you have tripped and fallen on a construction site?

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • DO NOT be forced by any person, supervisor or other person to tell medical professionals at the scene, the EMS or the ER that your accident happened any other way than the way in which it occurred. Often, unbeknownst to you, your boss, supervisor, foreman may tell you that it’s in your interest to say that the accident happened in a different way or even at a different location. This is a sneaky and selfish way for them to possibly avoid liability and harm any genuine claim for injury that you may have.

After that, there are important steps to take in order to protect yourself and any future claim you may bring. You should:

  • Report your accident to a foreman or supervisor or site safety person
  • Take photos and videos of the area and condition that caused your accident, or ask someone to take pictures or videos for you if you are unable to due to injuries
  • Gather contact information of any witnesses, including names and contact details
  • Request that your employer alert workers compensation of your accident
    As soon as practical, you should consult a construction accident attorney to protect your rights. If you have sustained an injury at work on a construction site in New York, an attorney can file a claim on your behalf for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits will cover your medical treatment as a result of the injuries suffered along with paying your lost wages up to a maximum of $934.11 per week.

What can I claim if I have a case for injury that occurred on a construction site?

  • Money damages for Pain and suffering both past and future
  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses for treatment, assistance and procedures that you’re are likely to require
  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of future earnings which can include annuity, pension, insurance and union benefits

What if I am illegal or undocumented?

The construction industry provides work to thousands of undocumented workers in New York and many of them suffer on the job injury. If you are an illegal immigrant/undocumented person who was injured you are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Your status is protected and cannot be reported to the authorities and doesn’t prevent you from bringing a claim. You need to contact the construction accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Darren T Moore P.C.

At the Law Offices of Darren T. Moore PC, our construction accident attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve following a construction accident. Our construction accident attorneys have extensive knowledge of both New York labor laws and regulations established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the New York Industrial Code including Section 241(6) as referenced above. Call us now at (917) 809-7014 for a FREE CONSULTATION and remember WE ONLY RECOVER IF YOU RECOVER. Our goal is “MOOREJUSTICE” for each and every client.