Illegal Alien Covered Under Worker's Comp

September 13, 2005 ( - Maryland's Supreme Court ruled that an illegal alien injured on the job is deemed a covered employee eligible for workers compensation benefits under Maryland law.

Business Insurance reports that in Design Kitchen and Baths vs. Diego E. Lagos, the employer and insurer Princeton Insurance Co. argued that Lagos, injured on the job in 2001, must be denied workers comp benefits because his illegal alien status prohibited him from entering into an employment contract.  

Design Kitchen and the insurer also argued that because Lagos’ claim conflicts with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, their employment contract is void regardless of whether the employer or employee violated federal law.

The Maryland Workers Compensation Commission and a trial court both ruled in favor of Lagos, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling.   According to Business Insurance, the appeals court found that, while Maryland’s workers comp law does not specifically address undocumented worker status, it does state that any uncertainty is to be resolved in the claimant’s favor.