It is a well-known fact that the criminalization and arrest of thousands of immigrants has been conducted over the last year. While these arrests have been carried out by Immigration Enforcement, they also have been facilitated by insurance companies looking to avoid payouts. According to a recent investigation by NPR and ProPublica, workers’ compensation insurance companies have reportedly been turning in unauthorized immigrants when they report injuries on the job in order to avoid making legal payouts. NPR and ProPublica documented more than 130 cases as part of their investigation. The cases revealed that immigrants who had suffered legitimate workplace injuries ended up facing felony fraud charges when they sought medical care because their employers’ insurers flagged them for law enforcement. Consequently, many injured workers were deported without receiving medical care for their serious injuries.
A Controversial Practice
Florida law declares it illegal to use false identification on a job application. As a result, many injured, immigrant workers were charged with workers’ compensation fraud even if they never filed a claim. According to the NPR and ProPublica investigation, more than 99% of the arrested workers under this law were Hispanic immigrants working with false papers.
This law allows employers to knowingly hire unauthorized immigrants under the premise that these employers will not be held accountable for workplace injuries. A lack of responsibility on the side of the employer allows for safety shortcuts and hazardous workplaces. It also discourages workers from reporting their injuries to their employers, effectively shifting the cost of any associated medical care from the employer to the tax payer.
New Legislature in Florida
The Florida legislature is now considering a bill that would block workers’ compensation insurance companies’ from facilitating the arrest and deportation of immigrants in attempts to avoid payouts. The proposed bill would no longer allowing individuals who have not committed actual workers’ compensation fraud to be charged as such simply for using a false identity to obtain employment. This is more in line with existing policy in Florida, which has always abided by the principle that all Florida workers, authorized or unauthorized, are entitled to medical care and lost wages if they are injured on the job.
If you know an immigrant worker who has been injured on the job, it is imperative they hire an experienced, workers’ compensation attorney to represent their interests. There are many complex statutes surrounding workers’ compensation in Florida and it is necessary to hire an attorney that will fight for you. Insurance companies will use any tactic necessary to keep you from the compensation you deserve. Call experienced attorney Frank Eidson, P.A. at 407-315-2695 for a free case review. Additionally, you may email Frank personally at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his office at 327 N. Orange Ave, Orlando, FL, 32801.