Undocumented status doesn't foil worker's claim for fall from roof
Case name: Dominquez v. Gottschalk Brothers Roofing, No. 105,985 (Kan. Ct. App. 06/29/12, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the Kansas Court of Appeals held that an undocumented worker was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits.
What it means: In Kansas, a worker's undocumented immigration status does not prevent him from receiving permanent partial disability benefits.
Summary: An undocumented worker began working for a roofing company after he presented a false Social Security card and a false driver's license. He fell from the roof of a building and sustained significant injuries. The company agreed that the worker's accident arose out of and in the course of his employment. It argued that the worker's undocumented status prevented him from receiving benefits. The Kansas Court of Appeals held that the worker was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits.
The court rejected the employer's argument that an undocumented worker is not permitted to receive workers' compensation benefits because it conflicts with federal law that prohibits anyone from employing a known illegal immigrant.
The court pointed out that PPD benefits are determined in part on a worker's wage earnings compared to his average weekly wage from the date of the accident. The court pointed out that the worker secured substantial, gainful employment after he was released from treatment, and his postinjury wages were considered when determining his wage loss. The workers' compensation law defined "employee" broadly without exempting undocumented workers. The law made no reference to a worker's immigration status.
The court also rejected the worker's attack to a doctor's credibility and found that he had a 26 percent task loss.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 27, 2012
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