Can you be sued for accidental death of an illegal worker while on the job?

My dad’s friend is self employed and hired an illegal worker to work for him. He’s been working with him for four years on contract labor only. My dad’s friend asked the worker multiple times about insurance and a W-9 form. The worker denied it and wanted to be paid daily with cash. My dad’s friend moves mobile homes to various locations. The worker was on a site and was told not to touch anything on the mobile home because it was not safe yet. He didn’t listen and was electructed. He did not make it and the family to trying to sue. Do they have any grounds, and what are the consequences?

Asked on July 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the fact situation that you have written about, if your father's friend did not have a worker's compensation policy in place for the worker that was killed there is a factual and legal basis for a lawsuit against the presumed employer by the worker's heirs for wrongful death.

However, under the laws of all states in this country, since the worker was illegally in the United States, the worker's family is precluded from seeking lost income as part of their damages.

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