Personal Injury Rights for Undocumented Individuals and Non-Citizens: What To Know
California is a state where many undocumented immigrants live and work. With over two million noncitizens in its population, it has become a safe haven as a sanctuary state. However, most undocumented immigrants work in sectors with a high risk of injury lawsuits, such as construction and manufacturing.
Though the Golden State has worked hard to help its diverse citizenry, there’s still a lot of work left to do.
Many undocumented residents are still living in fear of being deported or arrested. So, when they get injured at work or in a car accident, they suffer in silence out of the assumption that seeking legal action could put them in more danger.
If you’re wondering whether undocumented immigrants can sue for personal injury, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll explore your rights as an injured undocumented worker and how immigration lawyers can help you seek the justice you deserve.
Can Undocumented Immigrants File Lawsuits?
Most undocumented workers think they don’t have rights in the US because of their status. When, in reality, they have every right to seek compensation for the injuries they sustained in an accident.
In 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown presented and approved a bill that protects the rights of undocumented immigrants. The Assembly Bill 2159 prevents defendants from looking into and using a plaintiff’s immigration status as admissible evidence during a trial.
If you decide to sue your employer for the injuries you’ve sustained at work, they can’t use your immigration status against you. Furthermore, government agencies can’t deport noncitizens for filing a lawsuit for personal injury.
The Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) says they can’t deport undocumented immigrants for filing personal injury lawsuits because no system informs them of a noncitizen’s status after they filed a claim.
You can seek compensation without exposing yourself to immigration authorities. For example, if you were in a car accident and decided to file a claim against the other driver, the INS won’t know anything about it. They’re not going to know where you live and what your status is.
It’s also worth noting that deporting undocumented immigrants for filing personal injury lawsuits is illegal. If an immigration authority tries to deport you while you have an ongoing case within the state, it can be interpreted as an obstruction of justice.
Ultimately, undocumented workers like you have every right to seek compensation for their injuries, regardless of their immigration status.
What to Consider When Filing A Claim
If you’re planning to file a claim or a lawsuit for your injuries, there are a few things you need to consider:
Liability is the first factor you must consider when filing a claim for personal injury. You need to show that the other party is liable for your injuries.
For example, if you were in a car accident because the other driver was driving under the influence, you need to prove that their negligence caused the incident. Additionally, since California is a comparative state, your claim can be affected if you were found partially at fault for your injuries.
Your compensation will be deducted depending on the amount of fault you have to accept. If you contributed to 30% of the incident, then you can only recover 70% of the damages you’ve suffered.
There are two types of damages you can claim; economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to the financial losses you’ve experienced after the incident. Things like medical bills, missed wages, and more fall under this category.
On the other hand, non-economic damages compensate for the pain and suffering the incident caused you. Depending on the nature of your claims, you can be compensated for both economic and non-economic damages.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations refers to the maximum time people have to file claims or lawsuits. This varies depending on your state and the type of lawsuit you want to file.
In California, personal injury victims only have two years to initiate legal action against the at-fault party. However, if it took them a while to discover their injuries, then they only have one year after discovery to file their claims.
It’s also worth noting that the statute of limitations for personal injury claims will be delayed if the at-fault party leaves the state. This is because once they leave California, they’re no longer subject to the state’s processes. The time limit will only start running again once they come back.
When to Seek Help From An Immigration Lawyer
If you’re having trouble filing your personal injury claims, we highly suggest you look for an immigration lawyer. Here’s why:
Immigration lawyers have in-depth knowledge of both immigration and personal injury law. They can explain your rights, the legal process, and the potential outcomes of filing a personal injury claim.
Lawyers can see if you qualify to file a personal injury claim. They look at your type of injury, who caused it, and any evidence you have. They use this information to determine whether you have a valid claim.
If you feel more comfortable speaking in your native language, immigration lawyers can assist you. They can talk to you in your preferred language and ensure you understand your rights as an immigrant.
Negotiations and Representation
Immigration lawyers are skilled negotiators and can represent your best interests during settlement discussions. They will strive to secure fair and reasonable compensation to cover your damages. They can also represent you in court if a settlement cannot be reached.
Knowledge of Immigration Implications
If you’re worried about the consequences of filing a personal injury claim, immigration lawyers can help. They can provide insight into how pursuing a personal injury case may impact your immigration status and help you make informed decisions.
Get The Justice You Deserve Today
Seeking justice and compensation for personal injuries should not be limited by immigration status. Undocumented immigrants in California have rights and avenues available to them. If you need help during this difficult time, Adamson Ahdoot is here for you.
Adamson Ahdoot is a full-service civil litigation firm with over 100 years of combined legal experience. With our help, you can trust that the best lawyers will handle your case with the intimacy and attention to detail of a boutique firm with the expertise of a larger one.
Adamson Ahdoot promises to guide you through this difficult time in your life. Our lawyers will support you every step of the way, from gathering evidence to negotiating your claim.
We proudly serve a diverse clientele with their car accident cases and offer free English and Spanish consultations. Call us at (800) 310-1606 and start building a robust claim today.
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