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The Rights of Undocumented Workers in Construction Accidents in Texas

We recently published this article on our website and in social media and got quite an energetic feedback so wanted to share it here:

According to a report issued earlier this year by the Workers Defense Project in Austin, half of all construction workers are undocumented. In addition, statistics indicate that Texas construction projects accounted for 16% of all new housing permits in the country, making it one of the most active construction markets in the country. Unfortunately for construction workers, the construction industry is one of the more dangerous industries in which to work, and the risk of serious bodily injury or death in construction accidents is significantly higher than in other industries. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the fatal injury rate in construction is higher than the national average than in all other occupations.

houston construction worker accident what to do

When undocumented construction workers get injured on the job, they are often unaware of their rights or afraid to bring a claim due to potential immigration consequences.  The reality is that negligence is negligence, and anyone, regardless of immigration status, has the right to bring a legal claim.  Not only is it well established law that undocumented persons are able to bring a personal injury claim, but the Texas Supreme Court has recently gone so far as to hold that a claimant’s immigration status is inadmissible at trial, because it may unfairly bias the jury.

Texas is one of very few states that do not require any employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance.  Many construction companies and sub-contractors do not carry worker’s compensation insurance, thus allowing injured employees to sue the employer directly after construction accidents.  We call these claims “non-subscriber” claims, and they offer some very distinct and powerful advantages to the injured worker in the claim.

The injuries that people can sustain in a construction accident can range from minor cuts and scrapes to more serious injuries that can result in long-term medical complications. In the more serious of these injuries, injured plaintiffs may be able to recover monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability and other damages as well. Some of the more common kinds of injuries that can occur at construction sites include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

  • Fractures

  • Amputations

  • Burns

  • Chemical burns

  • Sprains

  • Inhalation-related injuries

  • Concussions

  • Falls

  • Electrical injuries

 

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