Employees working for an employer covered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act are entitled to monetary benefits when a work-related injury causes a total loss of wage-earning capacity, such as where the worker is unable to return to his or her job because of a temporary or permanent injury. This applies equally to unauthorized or undocumented workers in the United States.
However, the Virginia General Assembly has made a policy decision that employers and insurance companies are not required to pay partial loss of wages in cases where the injured worker is “not eligible for lawful employment,” for example, unauthorized or undocumented workers. Thus, while unauthorized workers are not barred outright from coverage under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, they are barred from claiming and receiving wage loss compensation once they have regained at least some work capacity following their industrial accidents.
Therefore, when you are discussing the adjudication of a workers’ compensation claim with the attorney retained to represent your interests in defense of such a claim, make sure your attorney is aware if there is any question of the immigration status of the injured worker, and be sure to include all documentation you have pertaining to the injured workers’ immigration status.