As a Virginia Workers’ Compensation practitioner for 35 years I often have to respond to questions about illegal aliens and their workers’ compensation rights.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has decided to provide partial Virginia Workers’ Compensation benefits to illegal aliens when they get injured but not complete benefits. The illegal alien has a problem when he is injured. His employment contract is illegal. In 1999 Virginia Supreme Court said an illegal alien could not receive any workers compensation benefits when he was injured.
The above court ruling created a different problem. If illegal aliens could not recover workers’ compensation benefits, then why couldn't they sue their employers for their injuries? The business interests in Virginia decided they would rather provide partial workers compensation then be open to lawsuits from aliens.
Virginia decided in light of this problem to provide partial workers compensation benefits to illegal aliens. An illegal alien in Virginia (if injured on the job) can obtain medical benefits and compensation. However, the alien can only receive compensation if he or she is totally disabled.The illegal alien cannot receive any compensation (other than medical care) once the alien is released for some form of light duty work. The rationale for this is that the illegal alien cannot work legally in Virginia so no light duty work can be offered to the alien. The illegal alien can be paid for a specific loss of an extremity (for example a 20% loss of a leg).
By provided partial compensation remedies to aliens, employers in Virginia are protected from job injury lawsuits by illegal aliens.
IN SUMMARY, yes, the alien can receive some benefits in Virginia but the illegal alien does not receive the full range of compensation benefits that is available to a citizen in Virginia.
This may be considered AN ADVERTISEMENT or Advertising Material under the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers in Virginia. This note is designed for general information only. The information presented in this note should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.