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Can I Undocumented Immigrants File A Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When you or a loved one is a victim of circumstance and is seriously injured or has suffered the unexpected loss of a family member, seeking legal action against those who have wronged you may have crossed your mind. In today’s political climate, many undocumented immigrants are afraid to seek legal recourse for the fear that their immigration status may be revealed and the justice system would turn against them – many immigrants face deportation if they are reported to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, in California, it doesn’t matter what your immigration status may be, you have the right to a fair trial and can pursue a personal injury and wrongful death claim if you or a loved one is injured or has been killed due to another person’s negligence. Immigration status is not considered a factor when determining liability, nor will immigration status come up throughout the course of the personal injury settlement or litigation process.

In addition, California Assembly Bill 2159 says that a plaintiff’s immigration status is inadmissible and the defendants nor their attorney is permitted to seek information regarding immigration status, therefore, undocumented immigrants cannot be threatened with deportation.

Benefits of Filing A Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The shock of an injury or the unexpected death of a loved one can be an emotional burden as well as a financial burden. If the injury or death was incurred by the recklessness or negligence of another, then you might be entitled to certain damages. Damages include:

  • Medical bills such as:
    • Rehabilitation bills
    • Prescriptions
    • Therapies
    • Home health care
    • Future medical costs
  • Pain and Suffering such as:
    • Loss of Enjoyment
    • Mental anguish
    • Loss of limbs
  • Lost wages including:
    • Current lost wages from the date of injury
    • Future earnings
    • Lost earning capacity

How Damages Are Configured For Undocumented Immigrants

Many undocumented immigrants are still hesitant to file personal injury lawsuits because they believe they will not get a fair settlement. This fear is based on the old California precedent set in 1986 during the trial of Rodriguez v Kline that lasted three decades. During this trial, the plaintiff was an undocumented immigrant whose lost future earnings were based on his native country of Mexico, rather than what they’d be here in the United States. The defendant argued that since the plaintiff was here illegally, he could be deported, so his lost future earning should be based on his potential income in Mexico. The courts agreed and in California, whenever an undocumented immigrant would file a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit, their future income potential would be based on their country of origin rather than the United States. This led to hundreds of settlements that were significantly less than what the damages could have been if the lost future earnings were based in the United States.

Governor Jerry Brown believed that immigration status should not be used as an argument to avoid paying compensation for personal injury and wrongful death. With the backing of Congresswoman Lorena Gonzalez, he presented the Assembly Bill 2159 and it was signed into law in 2016. Now, under California Law, not only do undocumented immigrants have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, they are entitled to maximum compensation as the damages are based upon future potential earnings in the United States.

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

There are several different types of accidents that fall into the umbrella of personal injury law. If you have been injured in any of the types of accidents listed below through no actions of your own, then you might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Additionally, if a loved one has passed due to the negligent actions of another through any of these accidents, then you might be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These accidents include:

  • Car Accidents including:
    • Ride Sharing Accidents
    • Hit & Run Accidents
    • Distracted Driving Accidents
    • Drunk Driving Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Construction Accidents
  • Dog Bite Injuries
  • Product Liability
  • Medical Malpractice

Contact A Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured or died at the hand’s of a third party’s careless actions, then filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is imperative. The statute of limitations on these types of cases is only two years so don’t let your fear of immigration status prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve. All of our consultations are confidential and we do not share your information with any third party. Contact us today for your confidential and free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.