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GWarren For Business & Nonprofits
GWarren For Business & Nonprofits, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 355
Experience:  30 yrs Counsel, AVP Corp Governance Fortune 100 finance/ins, Nonprofit Bds, law firm. OH NJ license
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Good Morning, I have a question- I run a small landscaping

Customer Question

Good Morning,

I have a question- I run a small landscaping business that works about 3 days a month and have a general liability insurance policy that covers myself in case of an accident, however, I wanted to know what would happen if one of the 3 illegal mexican workers that work for me cut a finger, etc?? I have had them all sign a waiver of liability but what would you suggest I do moving foward? Thanks for your time and help??
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  GWarren For Business & Nonprofits replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for contacting justanswer.

The law among the states is unsettled on the issue of the rights of illegal aliens as to compensation for work related injuries.

Some states allow such workers to sue for injuries while others have allowed some recovery under the states' workers compensation system. Therefore, a waiver of liability may be subject to challenge in court. If the court were to hold that as an employer knowingly engaging illegal aliens, states permitting the right to sue may disregard the waiver as an improper denial of worker related rights to be protected from health care related costs due to injury on the job. Other states may require a contribution from you as an employer for workers compensation premiums.

If you would like me to research current status of this debate in your state, please let me know.

GWarren For Business & Nonprofits, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 355
Experience: 30 yrs Counsel, AVP Corp Governance Fortune 100 finance/ins, Nonprofit Bds, law firm. OH NJ license
GWarren For Business & Nonprofits and 11 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

 

Thanks for the reply. Yes -I would like to know where this is at in my state(Ga) I understand the workers compensation payment and how that works, however, I do not have a business license therefore paying into workers comp would probably more expensive then my actual profit since I am very small. thanks

Expert:  GWarren For Business & Nonprofits replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your Accept and Reply.

Following is a public domain direct link to the State Bar of Georgia Workers Compensation newsletter that states in part:

"It has been established that a worker’s illegal alien status itself does not bar the workers’right to receive workers’ compensation benefits under the GWCA."

http://www.gabar.org/public/pdf/sections/workerscomp/wcwinter07news.pdf

The risk may appear to be whether any such workers would pursue an action if injured. Given the few days a month that your landscaping business is in operation you may want to consider efforts to protect yourself from personal financial and activity liability, for example, if you do not have a limited liability company and are a sole proprietor you may want to review that value with SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business (through a free face to face or online counseling with experienced business volunteers at http://www.score.org ) as well as review with your agent or broker the coverage provided by your general liability insurance policy.

As to the waiver you propose, given the status of the Georgia law on illegal aliens - recent bill prohibiting employment by government entities and the need for verification, contact with your local bar association lawyer referral service to identify lawyers you can interview as to their experience and fees in similar situations may be helpful.

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