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Are Undocumented Workers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Louisiana?

Posted by Liz Delsa | Jan 17, 2024 | 0 Comments

Louisiana's workers' compensation laws are designed to protect many different types of workers who are injured in workplace-related accidents. These protections do not depend on the immigration or citizenship status of the workers; in other words, undocumented workers in Louisiana are protected under its workers' compensation statutes to the same extent as citizens and documented immigrants.

The Statute Doesn't Mention Undocumented Workers

Louisiana's workers' compensation laws apply to “every person performing services” in connection with their employment, with some exceptions. The immigration status of the employee, however, is not one of the exceptions that an employer or insurer can use to deny workers' compensation benefits to an undocumented employee injured in a work-related accident.

Louisiana courts have confirmed this. In a case decided in 1996, a Louisiana appeals court heard a case where a workers' compensation claim was denied because the employee was undocumented. The court reversed the denial. It noted that under the language of the Workers' Compensation Act, the undocumented worker was “classified as an employee” and that there was “no clear indication that the legislature intended to exempt illegal aliens from recovering” under the Act. Other courts have since agreed with this decision.

Not Every Employee is Entitled to Workers' Compensation Benefits

Note that Louisiana does exclude some employees from receiving workers' compensation benefits. These include:

- So-called “domestic workers” such as daycare or cleaning workers who are employed by individuals to work from a home

- Certain public employees, such as sheriff's deputies

- Executive officers and uncompensated board members and volunteers associated with not-for-profit organizations

-Temporary farm workers who earn less than a set amount per year

- Employees covered under the Federal Employer's Liability Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, or Jones Act

- Employees of employer engaged in interstate or foreign commerce by railroad

- Real estate brokers and agents

- Professional musicians while performing under a performance contract

- Crews of airplanes engaged in crop dusting or spraying operations

However, no exclusion in Louisiana's Workers' Compensation Act prevents an otherwise eligible employee from receiving workers' compensation benefits simply because the employee is an undocumented worker.

Delsa Law Firm, LLC, Can Help You With Your Workers' Compensation Questions

If you are an undocumented worker who has been injured in a work accident in Louisiana, and your employer has denied your workers' compensation claim based on your immigration status, contact the Delsa Law Firm, LLC, for help. Attorney Delsa has represented hard-working clients from all over the Mississippi Gulf Coast whose workers' compensation claims have been denied in Louisiana. He understands Louisiana's workers' compensation laws and is ready to protect your rights if your claim has been denied. Contact the Delsa Law Firm, LLC, today at (985) 882-1222 or use our online form to set up a confidential consultation. Our office is conveniently located in Slidell, close to the intersection of Interstates 10, 12, and 59.

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