This is not a typical post for my Workers Compensation blog, but it shows real courage and loyalty on the part of 4 men.
I recently represented the widow of a good man who died in a work related accident. He was an undocumented worker from Mexico. He was in the United States working in agriculture in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. At the time of the accident, he had a wife and three children in Mexico whom he had not seen in eight years. The Workers Compensation Act provides benefits to dependents of a worker who dies in the course of employment. These benefits would be life changing for the Mexican family.
The decedent was working in agricultural construction at the time of his accident. It was a complicated case that involved 6 separate defendants. They each defended the case vigorously. The defenses ranged from reasonable and legitimate to truly dishonorable.
In order to establish the facts, I needed to present witness testimony regarding how the accident occurred. The only witnesses were co-workers. Unfortunately, they were also undocumented. This required the co-workers to appear in court.
The co-workers were very worried about appearing in court. They were happy to do anything they could to help the widow of their friend, but they were justifiably concerned about appearing in court. They were afraid it could lead to being arrested and deported.
Despite their concern each of the four witnesses committed to appearing in court at the appointed time. Their testimony was critical to the case. Without it, we did not have a chance. At the hearing they testified well. With their help we settled the case on very favorable terms and we were able to provide enough money to his family in Mexico to replace his wages for about 20 years.
This was a great result.
What impressed me most in this case was the courage that each of the four witnesses showed. At very great personal risk, they appeared in court to testify. They each recounted what a great friend their coworker was and they were certain he would do the same for them if the roles were reversed.
I do not want to make political commentary on a controversial issue, but putting all that aside, the courage and loyalty displayed by these 4 witnesses was noteworthy and inspirational.