Employers who hire day laborers, undocumented workers and cash only laborers still responsible for workers comp benefits, according to workplace injury lawyer Doug Landau of ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. In a decision in favor of Landau’s client handed down by the Workers Compensation Commission, the worker’s medical bills (without any deductibles), temporary total disability, out of pocket expenses for his prescription medications, travel to see his health care providers and permanent injury were all ordered to be paid by the insurance company.
FACTS: The worker was picked up at the Herndon 7-11, since, in their infinite wisdom, the Town Council closed the Herndon Day Labor Site and brought those seeking employment back to Elden Street where everyone who visits the "Historic" Town can see them every morning lining the roadway. The construction company owner selected several men with experience in the building trades who would be paid cash at the end of the day. The owner was driving a company truck, wearing the company uniform and had the company’s tools in the back. Several of the laborers were dropped at a commercial construction site before Landau’s undocumented client was dropped off with another worker at a residential property with the company’s sign out front. The claimant was ordered to clean up the construction debris and was injured while doing so. When the injured worker sought help, he was told by the construction company that he was not an employee, and their insurance company added that he was not on their list of employees, not on their insured’s work site and not covered by their policy. When the worker cam to ABRAMS LANDAU, he had received no benefits of any kind.
The injured worker had no documentary evidence other than the owner’s business card and a recall of the address where he was injured. The ABRAMS LANDAU team was able to investigate his claim and find out that the residence was owned by the boss’s sister, and that indeed, the company’s sign had been out front. The injured workers law firm was able to show the Workers Compensation judge that by all appearances, this was indeed one of the company;s work sites, an that the men were hired by the company. Using the legal doctrine of "apparent agency," lawyer Landau was able to convince the comp judge that the claim was indeed meritorious and the judge ordered the construction company’s insurer to pay the benefits sought. The construction company thought it could get away with hiring these men and then avoid responsibility if they got hurt. However, the Workers Compensation Commission ruled that the company was indeed responsible for the men it engaged and had working under its direction, regardless of their legal, temporary employment or work status. If you or someone you know has been injured in an on the job accident, e-mail us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., or call 703-796-9555 today.