Florida court rules that illegal immigrants are eligible for worker’s compensation benefits

Florida Workers Comp CaseThe Florida First District Court of Appeals has released its ruling on the case of HDV Construction Systems v. Luis Aragon. The case stems from a worker’s compensation dispute levied against HDV construction by Luis Aragon. According to the suit, Aragon fell from a roof while working, suffering from serious injuries that prevented him from working during the extent of his recovery. Normally, such a dispute would have been settled without bringing the issue to court, but one issue makes this case court-worthy: Aragon is an undocumented immigrant.

Aragon was denied worker’s compensation by HDC’s insurance company due to his status as an illegal immigrant. The First District Court disagreed with this notion, however, claiming that Aragon’s status, as well his extensive injuries and inability to speak English, effectively made him unemployable. Because of this, the court awarded Aragon with wage benefits.

The ruling has drawn outcry from state legislators and certain advocacy groups that claim Aragon’s illegal status should have prevented him from receiving any compensation whatsoever. The ruling has also irked the insurance industry who fears that a judicial precedent may be set which will ultimately require them to cover illegal immigrants.

Lawmakers have placed blame solely with the company that hired Aragon, claiming that the company should have been aware of Aragon’s status as an illegal immigrant before he was hired. The issue is expected to have some bearing on the upcoming legislative session.

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