Court Says Illegal Immigrant Can Get Workers Comp

June 30, 2011 ( – A Florida appellate court has ruled that an employer can’t use a worker’s illegal status to deny workers compensation benefits.

Business Insurance reports that the court agreed with a workers comp judge that found that HDV Construction could not use that defense because the employer knew or should have known of the claimant’s illegal status prior to his injury. Florida’s First District Court of Appeal cited substantial evidence that the worker is permanently and totally disabled based on the combined effect of his physical injuries and vocational impediments.   

In addition, according to Business Insurance, the court said the workers comp judge erred in finding that benefits should be awarded only for a limited time period. It remanded the case so the judge can enter an order awarding permanent total disability benefits “on a continuing basis.”  

The news report said Luis E. Aragon, a farm worker, fell 30 feet, requiring extensive medical treatment that included a spinal cord stimulator implant, court records state. As a result, Aragon is permanently restricted to sedentary work, prohibiting him from performing pre-injury occupations in construction and manufacturing. Additionally, he does not possess proper documentation allowing him to work legally, has a limited education, and is unable to speak or read English.   

Aragon filed for permanent total disability benefits, to which his employer and its workers compensation insurer argued he was not entitled because of his illegal immigrant status.