In the last two weeks, three undocumented workers have reached settlements totaling $3.85 million for workplace accidents in New York.
A lawyer representing the three men said the message to businesses is clear: If a company employs an illegal immigrant and that person gets hurt on the job, the employer is still responsible financially.
All three were in construction but working on different projects.
An illegal immigrant from Mexico was scalded over large portions of his body by an exploding pipe at a Wall Street construction site and settled his case for $2.5 million.
A second undocumented Mexican worker suffered severe injuries to his left foot and other parts of his body when a beam fell on his lower body at a building site in Manhattan. The worker settled his case for $750,000.
The third worker, from Ecuador, was injured at a construction site in Queens when three 44×10-foot trusses, each weighing 200 pounds, fell on him. He suffered a fractured hip and other injuries. His settlement is for $600,000.
This worker said at a news conference, “The contractor tried to blame me.” When asked what message he would give to other workers, he said, “Don’t be afraid to talk to a lawyer.”
Joel Magallan of Asociacion Tepeyac, an immigrant advocacy group, said, “They [undocumented immigrants] have to know today that they have rights — the same rights as other workers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.”
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