NEW YORK (AFP) – An illegal immigrant from Mexico who filed suit after being seriously injured on a construction job won a four-million-dollar settlement in what his lawyers said is the largest payout ever to an undocumented immigrant, local media reported.
The laborer — who would not reveal his identity for fear that his family in Puebla would be kidnapped — lost his sight in one eye and his sense of smell, broke several teeth and sustained serious injuries to his head, liver, kidneys and a lung after falling 30 feet (9.1 meters) from scaffolding in New York in 2001.
The 33-year-old father of three then spent three months in the hospital, where he underwent six operations.
“We took the case and we fought against the owner of the building and the companies employing him, and in the end we received a payment for him of four million dollars,” Brian O’Dwyer, one of the man’s lawyers, told The Sun. He noted that the settlement would be paid this week.
At the risk of sounding callous, I do not believe this man should have been allowed to sue.
His very existence on that job site was a crime. Both he, and his employer, were complicit in this crime. Both knew that of his status and that he would not be covered under ordinary worker insurance should he be injured. We do not allow burglars to sue property owners when they get injured in the midst robbing a home, why should we allow illegal workers to sue when injured while committing their crimes?
In a just world this man would have been deported after having his injuries treated while his employer either faced a heavy fine or jail time.