“Meanwhile, in what might be a surprise to some homeowners, an illegal alien injured while trimming your tree would have access to U.S. courts and could recover damages from a stateside homeowner or his insurance company, said John McAvoy, an attorney who has represented tree cutters in Lancaster and Pasadena.

“It’s a very common scenario,” he said. “Itinerant laborers will get solicited to do yard work, which might include trees. And they get injured with alarming frequency … a lot of electrical contact injuries.”

An undocumented worker would probably receive less in damages because his lost future wages would have been earned in his home country instead of in the U.S., since he doesn’t have legal status to work in the U.S.

“Generally, future lost income arguments are compromised by lack of citizenship,” said McAvoy. That, of course, would be cold comfort to a homeowner being held liable in some way for an accident.

That’s why it probably pays to spend more up front for a licensed, insured tree trimmer, not only to avoid a potential problem, but also to avoid the stress that goes along with it.”

Hazard Pay Unlicensed Workers, if Injured, Can Cost Thousands