Legal Professionals Standing By 24/7

Are You Eligible for Workers' Comp if You Are an Undocumented Immigrant?

Workers with helmets carrying boxes

Do you have a work injury? If so, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. But what happens when you are an undocumented worker? Are you eligible for it?

This is a delicate subject in California that migrant workers are afraid to talk about. Most of them are unaware ofwhich rights apply to them regarding their current immigration status.

The truth is that undocumented workers alsohave the same rights, such as meal periods, overtime, and workers’ comp benefits.

Here is what you should know about workers’ comp for undocumented workers.

You Need to Be an Employee

In other words, you need to have the employee status to be eligible, so independent contractors, like freelancers, are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Volunteer workers are also not covered by these benefits.

Still, there are some exceptions to this rule. It is crucial to get the advice of an attorney in this situation.

Your Injury or Illness Should Be Related to Work

In most cases, it is easy to determine if an injury is sustained at work or related to the job, whether one-time accidents, cumulative injuries, or illnesses related to the job environment or work tasks.

Yet, you need to prove that your injury or illness was sustained while you’re at work; therefore, you must have the right pieces of evidence. Otherwise, this won’t be entertained by your employer or in court.

Don’t Be afraid

Most undocumented workers are afraid of filing a workers’ comp claim. That’s because they consider their employers will retaliate, discriminate against them, or even get them deported.

However, in California, all workers have the same rights, regardless of immigration status (find out more about it here). For that reason, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you, in any way, for filing a workers’ comp claim.

Otis Landerholm, an Immigration Laws expert, speaks about the intersection between immigration law and workers' compensation. Listen to this podcast here.


Being an undocumented worker can be hard sometimes, especially if you get injured at work or have a job-related illness. The good news is that you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits like any other employee in California.

This is not an easy path to walk, so the best decision is to ask for a professional, caring, and skilled attorney to fight for you.

A workers’ compensation attorney will know what to do to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will gather all the necessary pieces of evidence and information that will strengthen your claim and make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Pacific Workers', The Lawyers for Injured Workers is Northern California's Premier Workers' Compensation Law Firm. Representing First Responders, Health Care Workers, Construction Workers, Delivery Workers, Warehouse Workers, and all the hard-working people that keep our community moving in their Fight for Justice against the Insurance Companies.

With over 250+ Five Star Reviews, an incredible staff of caring, well-trained, advanced technology for superior client communication, a track record of an over 98% win rate, and giving back to our community through the Pacific Workers' Foundation, it is easy to see why Pacific Workers' is the go-to law firm for all injured workers in Northern California. Offices in Oakland, Concord, Stockton, Tracy, San Jose, and Sacramento.

If you or a loved one need help or just have a question, give us a call at 800-606-6999 or email us at

Related Posts
  • Effective Strategies for Repetitive Motion Injuries and Workers' Compensation Read More
  • Are farm workers entitled to workers compensation? Read More
  • How to Calculate the Value of a California Workers Compensation Claim Read More