Undocumented Workers on Workers Compensation

Many undocumented laborers wonder if they can receive workers’ compensation benefits. The short answer to this is YES. Many undocumented workers take up service jobs in hotels, restaurants and construction. Illegal immigrants often have very strenuous and dangerous positions compared to American workers who often don’t want to work in farms and slaughterhouses. These jobs tend to generate higher injury rates compared to white-collar desk jobs.

Although it is illegal for the employer to hire undocumented workers, many state laws make it legal for undocumented immigrants to collect workers comp benefits. However, this can lead to an uphill battle for the undocumented worker, as their employer will be reluctant to admit they hire illegal aliens. Proving employment will be hard because the worker is most likely paid in cash, so payroll records are unlikely. In many construction projects there can be various subcontractors working on the same development, and it can be very confusing as to which employee works for which sub-contractor. So it may come down to the employer’s word versus the undocumented workers testimony. Luckily for them, many judges have seen this on multiple occasions and tend to side with the illegal worker unless faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

In states such as New York, California, Colorado, Hawaii, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas the law specifically states, “employee means any person, including a minor, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed in the service of an employer.” However, in some states such as Wyoming, undocumented immigrants are banned from collecting workers’ compensation benefits. If you are an undocumented worker injured on the job, it is in your best interests to file a claim immediately. You can worry about being covered after filing your claim, as there is a statute of limitations in most states and if you wait too long, you won’t quality for workers’ compensation. Even if you are not due workers’ compensation benefits, you will not get in trouble for filing a claim.

Five Things Everyone Must Know About Workers Compensation

What is workers compensation and why should you care? Workers compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who become injured or ill as a direct result of their job. You do not have to be a miner, trucker or logger to be affected by affected by the complicated things, especially as the workforce ages and that trend will become more acute in the coming decades. Below are five facts that everyone should know about workers compensation.

1. Report Every Injury or Illness
Always report any injury to your illness to your doctor and to the HR department. It is not enough to report it to the guy or woman next to you. When an incident happens immediately get an incident report to fill out. If you do not receive a call from an insurance adjuster or get paper work something is wrong. You should immediately follow up with your boss.

2. Corporations Are Actively Trying to Ditch Workers Compensation
There is an aggressive campaign in corporate America to allow states to opt-out of state laws. According to an investigative journalism investigation conducted by ProPublica and NPR in 2015, 120 companies in Texas and Oklahoma have already opted out of those laws. Beyond those states big corporations are already opting out of their obligations. Sear is able to deny benefits if workers don’t report injuries by the end of their shifts. Taco Bell is able accompany injured workers to doctors’ appointments.

3. Ask Your Employer to Explain Its Workers Compensation Coverage
Your employer likely has a brochure that explains their workers’ compensation programs, and make sure to read it. Then, find your states workers’ compensation office and check out the information on the website.

4. You Do Not Necessarily Need an Attorney to Get What You’re Owed
Since states set workers’ compensation payouts, there’s not much leeway for you to get more or less than you deserve. The value system is built into the law and the doctor determines how permanent the injury is. Under the current system an attorney is entitled to take 20 percent of your settlement, so keep that mind before you book one. That said, if you think that you are being shortchanged over a permanent disability, have a complex claim, or were unfairly denied coverage of your medical bills, then hiring one is reasonable.

5. Make Sure Your Medical Records Include Everything About Your Injury
Your records should mention the history and circumstances of your injury or illness and make sure to list every body part involved. If the body parts are not listed in detail, then workers’ compensation will not pay for it.

This only scratches the surface about a complex system which will be covered in subsequent posts.

Locate Your States Workers’ Compensation Agency

Most states have made it a law that employers carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Below we have added various state agencies you can contact if you need help with your claim. These agencies act as an a advocate for injured workers, and may provide some useful information your carrier hasn’t. Need help finding a lawyer or doctor in your area? See below.

Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Industrial Relations
Industrial Relations Building
649 Monroe Street
Montgomery, AL 36131
FAX: 334-353-8262

Department of Labor Division of Workers’ Compensation
P.O. Box 115512
Juneau, AK 99811
FAX: 907-465-2797

State Compensation Fund
3030 N. 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85012
FAX: 602-631-2213

Workers’ Compensation Commission
324 Spring Street
P.O. Box 950
Little Rock, AR 72203
TDD: 800-285-1131

Department of Industrial Relations
Division of Workers’ Compensation
1515 Clay Street, 17th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Department of Labor and Employment
Division of Workers’ Compensation
633 17th Street, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80202
FAX: 303-318-8710

Workers’ Compensation Commission
21 Oak Street
Hartford, CT 06106
FAX: 860-247-1361

Office of Workers’ Compensation
4425 N. Market Street
3rd Floor
Wilmington, DE 19802
FAX: 302-761-6601

District of Columbia
Office of Workers’ Compensation
64 New York Avenue, NE
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20002

Division of Workers’ Compensation
200 E. Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
FAX: 850-488-2305

State Board of Workers’ Compensation
270 Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30303

Department of Labor & Industrial Relations
Disability Compensation Division
830 Punchbowl Street, Room 209
P.O. Box 3769
Honolulu, HI 96813
FAX: 808-586-9099

Industrial Commission
317 Main Street
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720
FAX: 208-334-2321

Workers’ Compensation Commission
100 W. Randolph Street
Suite 8-200
Chicago, IL 60601

Workers’ Compensation Board
402 W. Washington Street, Room W-196
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Division of Workers’ Compensation
1000 E. Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Division of Workers’ Compensation
800 SW Jackson Street
Topeka, KS 66612

Office of Workers’ Claims
657 Chamberlin Avenue
Frankfort, KY 40601
502-564-5550, ext. 4423

Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration
1001 N. 23rd Street
P.O. Box 94040
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
FAX: 225-342-5665

Workers’ Compensation Board
27 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
TTY: 207-287-6119
FAX: 207-207-7198

Workers’ Compensation Insurance
8722 Loch Raven Boulevard
Towson, MD 21286

Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council
600 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
617-727-4900, ext. 378
FAX: 617-727-7122

Workers’ Compensation Agency
7150 Harris Drive
1st Floor, B Wing
Dimondale, MI 48821

Department of Labor & Industry
Workers’ Compensation Division
443 Lafayette Road N
St. Paul, MN 55155
TTY: 651-297-4198

Workers’ Compensation Commission
1428 Lakeland Drive
Jackson, MS 39216

Division of Workers’ Compensation
3315 W. Truman Boulevard
Room 131
P.O. Box 58
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Workers’ Compensation Court
1625 11th Avenue
Helena, MT 59624
FAX: 406-444-7798

Workers’ Compensation Court
Capitol Building
P.O. Box 98908
Lincoln, NE 68509

Division of Industrial Relations
400 W. King Street
Suite 400
Carson City, NV 89703
FAX: 775-687-6305

New Hampshire
Workers’ Compensation Division
95 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301

New Jersey
Division of Workers’ Compensation
P.O. Box 381
Trenton, NJ 08625
FAX: 609-984-2515

New Mexico
Workers’ Compensation Administration
2410 Centre Avenue, SE
P.O. Box 27198
Albuquerque, NM 87125

New York
Workers’ Compensation Board
20 Park Street
Albany, NY 12207
FAX: 518-473-9166

North Carolina
Industrial Commission
4340 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699
FAX: 919-715-0280

North Dakota
Workforce Safety & Insurance
1600 E. Century Avenue
Suite 1
Bismarck, ND 58503
TDD: 701-328-3786

Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
30 W. Spring Street
Columbus, OH 43215
FAX: 800-520-6446

Workers’ Compensation Court
1915 N. Stiles Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Workers’ Compensation Division
350 Winter Street, NE
P.O. Box 14480
Salem, OR 97309
TTY: 503-947-7993

Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
Department of Labor & Industry
1171 S. Cameron Street
Room 324
Harrisburg, PA 17104
TTY: 800-362-4228

Rhode Island
Division of Workers’ Compensation
1511 Pontiac Avenue
Building 71-1, 1st Floor
P.O. Box 20190
Cranston, RI 02920
TDD: 401-462-8006

South Carolina
Workers’ Compensation Commission
1333 Main Street, Suite 500
P.O. Box 1715
Columbia, SC 29201
FAX: 803-737-5768

South Dakota
Division of Labor and Management
Department of Labor
Kneip Building
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501
FAX: 605-773-4211

Workers’ Compensation Division
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37243
FAX: 615-532-1468

Division of Workers’ Compensation
7551 Metro Center Drive
Suite 100
Austin, TX 78744
FAX: 512-804-4401

Industrial Accidents Division
160 E. 300 S, 3rd Floor
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
FAX: 801-530-6390

Workers’ Compensation Division
Department of Labor
5 Green Mountain Drive
P.O. Box 488
Montpelier, VT 05601
FAX: 802-828-2195

Workers’ Compensation Commission
1000 DMV Drive
Richmond, VA 23220
FAX: 804-367-9740

Department of Labor and Industries
P.O. Box 44000
Olympia, WA 98504
TDD: 360-902-5797
FAX: 360-902-5798

West Virginia
Workers’ Compensation
P.O. Box 50540
Charleston, WV 25305

Workers’ Compensation Division
201 E. Washington Avenue
Room C100
Madison, WI 53703
FAX: 608-267-0394

Workers’ Safety & Compensation Division
1510 E. Pershing Boulevard
Cheyenne, WY 82002
FAX: 307-777-6552

Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) Awards – Workers Compensation

100% SLU = 312 weeks
75% SLU = 234 weeks
50% SLU = 156 weeks
25% SLU = 78 weeks

100% SLU = 288 weeks
75% SLU = 216 weeks
50% SLU = 144 weeks
25% SLU = 72 weeks

100% SLU = 244 weeks
75% SLU = 183 weeks
50% SLU = 122 weeks
25% SLU = 61 weeks

100% SLU = 205 weeks
75% SLU = 153.75 weeks
50% SLU = 102.5 weeks
25% SLU = 51.25 weeks

100% SLU = 160 weeks
75% SLU = 120 weeks
50% SLU = 80 weeks
25% SLU = 40 weeks

100% SLU= 75 weeks
75% SLU = 56.25 weeks
50% SLU = 37.5 weeks
25% SLU = 18.75 weeks

First Finger
100% SLU = 46 weeks
75% SLU = 34.5 weeks
50% SLU = 23 weeks
25% SLU = 11.5 weeks

Second Finger
100% SLU = 30 weeks
75% SLU = 22.5 weeks
50% SLU = 15 weeks
25% SLU = 7.5 weeks

Third Finger
100% SLU = 25 weeks
75% SLU = 18.75 weeks
50% SLU = 12.5 weeks
25% SLU = 6.26 weeks

Fourth Finger
100% SLU = 15 weeks
75% SLU = 11.25 weeks
50% SLU = 7.5 weeks
25% SLU = 3.75 weeks

Great Toe
100% SLU = 38 weeks
75% SLU = 28.5 weeks
50% SLU = 19 weeks
25% SLU = 9.5 weeks

Other Toe
100% = 16 weeks
75% SLU = 12 weeks
50% SLU = 8 weeks
25% SLU = 4 weeks

“A SLU occurs when an employee has permanently lost use of an upper extremity (shoulder, arm, hand, wrist, finger), lower extremity (hip, leg, knee, ankle, foot, toe), or eyesight or hearing. Compensation is limited to a certain number of weeks based on the body part and severity of the disability, according to a schedule set by law. Temporary benefits that have been paid are deducted from the total SLU award.”


Example Using a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) Award for the shoulder/arm.

Injured Body Part – Left Arm
• AWW: 800
• TTD Rate: $533.33
• 45% SLU

The injured workers has missed 10 weeks of work and was paid at a TTD (Temporary Total Disability) rate. 10 weeks’ x $533.33 = $5,333.30 has been paid to the injured worker.

45% SLU = 312 weeks’ x .45 = 140.40 weeks’ payable.
140.40 weeks’ x $533.33 TTD rate = $74,879.53 Total SLU Worth
$74,879.53 – $5,333.30 = $69,546.23 Total Money Payable to the Injured Worker

Should I Settle my Workers Compensation & Personal Injury Case?

There are times when an injured worker can receive a personal injury settlement while still on Workers’ Compensation. Personal injury lawsuits can arise from machine malfunctions, Motor Vehicle Accidents and various other scenarios. Anytime someone is negligent, resulting in an injury to someone else, there is a good possibility a lawsuit will be brought against the negligent party.

It’s important to understand how a third-party settlement affects your Workers’ Compensation claim. The key here is “do not settle” until you are clear on the ramifications of settling. Many times, after receiving a personal injury settlement, your Workers’ Compensation carrier is entitled to a lien against your settlement. Additionally, injured workers must pay their attorneys. I recently ran into an injured worker who was devastated after receiving a 6 figure settlement. She was involved in a motor vehicle accident and likely will never return to work due to severe injuries. She had multiple surgeries and is on various prescription medications, including high doses of opiates. She ended up settling her personal injury lawsuit for $137,000 believing her Workers’ Compensation carrier would continue to pay her compensation payments and cover medical expenses. This was NOT the case.

First her attorney took his fee, then the insurance carrier enforced their liens rights. After the attorney fee and the insurance carrier’s lien the injured worker only received about $25,000. The insurance carrier cut the injured workers medical coverage and lowered her compensation payments. The injured worker then had to use her settlement money to cover her medical bills. Her medical expenses drained her settlement money in no time. She eventually ended up in a considerably worse position. Had she been aware of the outcome of taking the settlement, she could have made a much more advantageous decision.

The conclusion – make sure you do your research and know the pros and cons before settling your personal injury and Workers’ Compensation cases. It may be tempting to take the settlement, but don’t do it until you know exactly how it will affect your long-term outcome.

Having Pre-Existing Conditions While on Workers’ Compensation.

If you’ve been through the Workers’ Compensation process, you know it’s anything but perfect. One of the biggest issues facing the Workers’ Compensation industry is injured workers that have pre-existing conditions. This has become a complex situation for injured workers, employers and insurance companies. If you were injured in 2001 and had left knee surgery, then re-injured your left knee in 2017, the newer injury should be considered a completely separate event. Being honest about pre-existing conditions or injuries is the right thing to do. Any other approach can cause serious problems later. However, that should not be a reason to deny your claim. Many insurance carriers will try to fight these cases or at least apportion the case. This should not deter injured workers from filing claims when they reinjure a previously injured body part.

*Apportionment can be good for the employers of injured workers. This means they will not be liable for the full extent of the injured worker’s injury and costs associated with the injury. If an *Occupational Disease claim is filed for hearing loss due to working with loud machinery, or for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome after years of computer work, these cases will likely be apportioned. This should not have an impact on the claimant, but can have a dramatic consequence for their employers. Apportionment cases ultimately help lower the cost bearing for the injured workers most previous employer, potentially saving them thousands in Workers’ Compensation premiums.

Apportionment cases can be very hard for insurance companies. First they must find out the claimant had a previous accident or condition which may impact their current injury/condition. Once the insurance carriers learn of a pre-existing condition they must secure a HIPAA Release from the injured worker and request their medical records. This can be a lengthy legal battle for insurance carriers as many medical facilities will not easily release medical records, even when a HIPAA Authorization has been secured.

Overall, pre-existing conditions can have major impacts on various aspects of a Workers’ Compensation claim and all parties involved.

* Apportionment – Spreads the claims costs among multiple injuries and/or claims.
* Occupational Disease (OD) – Any chronic ailment that occurs because of work or occupational activities.

RoadCash – Launching in New York

RoadCash Launches First Workers’ Compensation Travel Reimbursement App
The app will reimburse employees for any travel costs that result from work related injuries and health issues.

New York, USA, September 14 2017 – RoadCash, the first app helping workers to claim travel costs incurred due to work related injuries, today announces their global launch. The app aims to eliminate the paperwork that puts employees off from claiming reimbursement, to increase the likelihood of winning claims, and to raise awareness of the potential to claim reimbursement.

Should you break your leg at work, you may need to make countless hospital visits in using your car, public transportation or a taxi. The RoadCash app allows users to manually or automatically log their trips (for whatever mode of transport), calculates the reimbursement owed and submits the reimbursement information to insurance companies. All users have to do is punch in some basic information their own details, those of their insurance provider, and those of their travels – the rest is handled by the app.

“Many people give up on claiming compensation reimbursement due to the difficulty of gathering the right information and the length of the process”, said Chad D. Ehrlich, a Managing Member of RoadCash. “We are taking everything that’s paper or entails manual labour and we’re making that digital so that more people get the compensation they deserve”.

The best estimate – from the International Labor Organization’s 2005 report – is that of the 2.8 billion people in the global workforce, some 270 million suffer from serious non-fatal injuries and 160 million from work-related diseases. RoadCash aims to make sure that these workers know of the workers compensation programs available in 136 countries. It also wants to change the minds of those who are aware, but are often put off by the bureaucracy and the prospect of being denied a claim.

Many government industries allow reimbursement for various travel and medical expenses, but currently, a paper form must be submitted to each agency. And if Medical and Transportation forms are not executed properly, the reimbursement may be held-up, or the claimant may not be reimbursed at all. By eliminating paper forms and providing an automated system, RoadCash will win more workers reimbursement.

“RoadCash helps American workers claim – and win – what they are entitled to. It makes the situation fairer and brings justice to thousands of injured workers in need”, added Ehrlich.

RoadCash is an app that helps workers to claim reimbursement for travel costs incurred due to work related injuries or health issues. The process eliminates paperwork and bureaucracy, helping workers to claim the funds they are entitled to under state and national law. RoadCash helps American workers claim what they are entitled to, bringing fairness and justice to thousands of injured workers in need.

Workers’ Compensation Reimbursement Forms

When it comes to workers’ compensation there can be many confusing laws, creating a hard to navigate industry for newly injured workers. Essentially, workers’ compensation is a legal system and many times requires consulting with an attorney. Worker’s compensation law varies on a state-by-state basis. One law that varies by state is your entitlement to a transportation reimbursement. Below we have provided the various workers’ compensation transportation reimbursement forms for US states.

1. California

2. Pennsylvania

3. Connecticut

4. Florida http://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/risk/WorkersCompensation/Documents/07.Mileage_Reimbursement_Form_03-2013.pdf

5. Georgia

6. Idaho

7. Maine

8. Massachusetts

9. Michigan

10. Minnesota

11. Virginia

12. Texas

13. Washington

14. Nevada

15. New Mexico

16. New York

17. North Carolina

18. North Dakota

19. Missouri

20. Oklahoma

21. Oregon

22. South Carolina

23. Texas

24. Vermont

25. Virginia

26. Washington

27. West Virginia

These forms were very difficult to locate. If you can find any forms we missed, feel free to share them or send us a message.

Top Workers’ Compensation Fraud Videos

There are many different types of workers’ compensation fraud. Most workers’ compensation fraud is committed by doctors, “injured” workers and business owners. Below we listed a few of the most insane instances of worker’s compensation fraud caught on camera.

1. In this example of workers’ comp fraud out of Fort Lauderdale, a woman picked up a sprinkler head after it had fallen on her desk, then hit herself in the head with it to stage an on-the-job injury.

2. Ever wonder what happens when you get caught committing workers’ compensation fraud? Check out the video below.

3. This lady was caught on the price is right. Does she seem too injured to work?

4. Even Beauty Queens can commit fraud. She was collecting compensation checks while competing in beauty pageants.

5. In this video an undercover video exposed 12 people who were milking the system. Investigators traced millions of dollars going to those who faked injuries or found loopholes.

How Can Repealing Obamacare Affect Workers’ Compensation Premiums?

The future of Obamacare has been in question for quite a while. Americans are unsure of the direction it will go since it has become clear that the plan may be repealed or modified. The political wrangling has caused many to fear the ramifications of any changes that may take place. Obamacare has its share of flaws, but for many who could not afford health insurance, it was a tremendous help. With Obamacare, a large sector of the public received good medical care. Prior to its being enacted they had to go without medical care. They simply had no alternative.

There are many rumors that Obamacare might be repealed despite its many benefits. The biggest fear is that there might be no alternative healthcare plan implemented in place of this affordable healthcare solution.

Large businesses with 50 or more employees are still compelled to provide healthcare insurance to employees. If the Affordable Care Act is no longer an option the result can be a much higher insurance costs for businesses, individuals and families. Without decent health care coverage many employees may file workers’ compensation claims to avoid the high cost of healthcare. This will undoubtedly impact the cost of workers’ compensation insurance for many businesses. Employees will do whatever they can to take care of their medical needs. It can be very difficult to distinguish injuries from 2 separate accidents. And it is very difficult to distinguish accidents on the job as opposed to off the job.

Many with pre-existing conditions, which may no longer be covered, may move over to the workers’ compensation system to help treat their injuries and health conditions. If an employee injures an arm and doesn’t fully recover, then reinjures that same arm while at work, they will receive workers’ compensation benefits. Without affordable medical coverage many workers’ with pre-existing conditions may be forced into the workers’ compensation system. Insurance companies will most likely fight these cases, however the burden of proof falls on the employer and their insurance company to prove the injury and/or condition isn’t work related. This can only bog down the system and add significant costs for employers. For example: an employee gets into an argument at work and then collapses from a heart attack. Who’s to say the heart attack wasn’t from stress rather than a pre-existing heart condition? So, a door is opened to administration and legal costs, lost wages and lost work productivity. And the whole system suffers. All the shouting about “repeal and replace” has yet to offer specifics that would put the average American at peace with the subject of healthcare costs.