When an injury occurs, the injured party has a right to pursue compensation regardless of their legal status. Undocumented immigrants may hesitate to pursue any type of legal action, fearing that doing so will result in their deportation. However, the U.S. Constitution, protects all people, residing within the United States, regardless of their legal status.
Furthermore, state and local law enforcement officials cannot go through court records to determine a person’s legal status. If you’ve been in an auto accident you can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, home care services, etc; regardless of legal status.
Failing to take action can negatively impact your life. For example, the treatment you need may not be affordable, you may lose your job, become disabled or disfigured, etc. You deserve compensation for your injuries, to protect your family and your future.
How an Attorney Can Help You and Your Case
If the at-fault driver has no or insufficient insurance, you may need to hire an attorney to receive fair compensation. Additionally, an attorney can help you fill out all the paperwork associated with insurance claims; benefiting those who do not speak English.
An attorney can help you receive compensation for medical treatment, lost income, non-economic damages (like pain and suffering), etc. Additionally, lawyers can protect you from threats of deportation and unnecessary legal action. If you decide to hire an attorney, you must be honest with them; informing them of your legal status, and relating all details of your case. Doing this will help your attorney protect you.
You Have Rights Regardless of Legal Status
If you reside in the United States of America, the protections granted in the constitution apply to you. Furthermore, immigration status does not concern personal injury lawsuit proceedings. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Consitution protects a person’s life, liberty, and property; extends equal protection of American laws to all residing within the U.S. regardless of legal status.
Additionally, the First Amendment prevents the government from restricting the right of the people to petition the government for grievances. A personal injury lawsuit falls within this category. Therefore, you have a right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, regardless of legal status, in order to receive compensation.
In the United States, court rulings are typically based on previous court decisions. This disposition, a.k.a. ‘Stare Decisis’ means to stand by previous decisions. There are several cases held as precedent (the standard) when an undocumented immigrant takes a personal injury claim to court.
A notable case regarding this issue was decided by the New York Court of Appeals in 2006; many states today site this lawsuit as a precedent for their hearings. In this case, Mexican national Gorgonio Balbuena sustained an injury while at work due to the negligence of another person. The court found that Balbuena had the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, as his injuries resulted from the actions of another person. The precedence set by this case allows a person to pursue a personal injury lawsuit; without regard to their legal or immigration status, if the injury resulted from the actions of another person.
When a case goes to trial, certain rules dictate the admissibility (or allowance) of evidence in court. If the evidence in question does not reach these specific requirements, neither party can address it for the duration of the trial. In most states, a person’s immigration or legal status cannot be presented or acknowledged during court proceedings. Therefore the opposing party, nor their attorney, can seek information regarding your legal status; you can safely seek legal help and pursue a lawsuit without fearing deportation.