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readily apparent, such as with pain management therapy or psychological treatment. To correct this communication issue, claimant’s attorney must ensure effective interpreters are present at medical appointments for claimants. Further, it may be advisable to have clients ﬁll out demographic intake questionnaires beforehand to ensure no mistakes are made. This is a simple solution, but makes a huge impact on the development of medical treatment in a case. Severe physical or psychological injuries that would otherwise go undiagnosed are diagnosed when an interpreter is effectively communicating the patient’s complaints to the medical provider. Some attorneys may wish that their problematic clients would disappear from time to time, but undocumented clients frequently do for months at a time, unfortunately. Because they are undocumented, often they do not even have a power bill in their name and even the most seasoned private investigator is unable to track them down. When this happens, discovery deadlines may be missed and the case may get stale just because a client changed their phone number. This puts the attorney in an awkward position as they do not want to dismiss the case but cannot make decisions without their client’s consent. It is a dreadful feeling when a client calls three years after their case was dismissed and wants case status. Attorneys handling cases for undocumented workers frequently encounter this. Foreigners frequently have little understanding of the American judicial system and do not realize that attorneys cannot settle cases without their consent or take their case to trial without their presence. Similarly, when handling cases involving undocumented workers, claimant’s attorneys frequently encounter undocumented employers who do not understand the applicable laws and may even be difﬁcult to track down themselves.
Many state legislatures, especially those in the Southeast, have either enacted or proposed bills modeled after Arizona’s S.B. 1070.
Regardless of where a workers’ compensation attorney practices, it is likely they will at some point encounter undocumented workers in need of representation. This is especially true in states with large populations of undocumented immigrants, like California and Texas. To adequately represent undocumented immigrants, it is essential for claimant’s attorneys to understand the recent developments in immigration reform and be able to translate these changes into a strategy to manage their client’s cases. As sweeping immigration reform rumbles through the United States via federal or state means, lawyers must keep their pulse on the current climate in order to protect their clients and themselves. ● Laura Reis and Norman Barnett practice workers’ compensation law in Atlanta at W. Calvin Smith, II, P.C. They can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.
1 MyFoxPheonix.com, Small Riot Breaks Out at Immigration Protest, http:// www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/news/immigration/immigration_protest_small_ riot_042310 (last accessed May 18, 2011). 2 PEW HISPANIC CTR., UNAUTHORIZED I MMIGRANT POPULATION: NATIONAL TRENDS, 2010 1 (Feb. 1, 2011). 3 4 Id. at 15. P EW H ISPANIC CTR ., A PORTRAIT STATES 12 (Apr. 14, 2009). 5 Immigrants of Hispanic origins account for approximately 76% of undocumented workers in the United States. Asian immigrants account for approximately 11%, Europeans and Canadians account for 4% and Africans account for approximately 3%. Supra note 2 at 11. 6 7 See S.B. 1070, 49th Leg., 2d Reg. Sess. (Ariz. 2010). See, e.g., H.B. 87, 150th Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (Ga. 2011); H.B. 3148, 119th Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (S.C. 2011). 8 9 S.B. 7, 150th Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (Ga. 2011). H.B. 71, 62d Leg., Reg. Sess. (Mont. 2011).
UNAUTHORIZED I MMIGRANTS
10 Fla. Stat. Ann. § 440.15(3)(b). 11 O.C.G.A. § 34-9-240. 12 72 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 512. 13 Id. 14 See Ca. Lab. Code § 1171.5(a).
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Fall 2011
Illegalizing Legal Rights in Georgia and Beyond
11 Ways to Avoid Coming Up Short at Trial
The Georgia Dram Shop Act Means What It Says: Flores v. Exprezit! Stores
There Is No Me Without You: GTLA member Jimmy Hurt helps the least of these with timely Cy Pres Award
Fighting Deceptive and Unfair Business Practices: Georgia’s statutory claims
How I Obtained Justice for My Client: Ingram v. Hill
Judicial Spotlight: Judge Tony Murray
Technology Update: Going Paperless
Lessons from the Listserver: When Contact with Former Employees is Permissible
Civil Justice PAC Contributors
Welcome New GTLA Members
Index to Advertisers/ Advertiser.com
Verdict - Fall 2011