Immigrants, even undocumented immigrants, and foreign visitors are protected by the United States laws and the various states and territories. Injured immigrants in car accidents and other tort actions may sue and be sued in state and federal courts for personal injury. Immigrants have the same right to stand in court as any citizen or legal resident.
Injured Immigrants Rights After A Traffic Crash
The Right To Sue
The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees everyone the right to sue in U.S. courts, regardless of immigrant status. The U.S. Constitution guarantees everyone, including undocumented immigrants, due process and equal protection under the law. Some states may restrict which and what kind of lawsuits may be filed to citizens and lawful residents. However, in most situations, including personal injury, immigrants may file lawsuits against individuals and companies. These rights extend to undocumented immigrants who may file suit to recover damages for harms they sustain.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
These rights guarantee everyone who is injured in an accident has the right to medical treatment and compensation for their injuries from the responsible parties. Compensation includes medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and incidental costs such as taxis to and from medical care.
However, undocumented immigrants – even those with insurance – may lose their coverage because the insurer could use their status to deny coverage. For example, if the undocumented immigrant doesn’t have a social security number or is using a fraudulent number, this could be grounds to deny coverage.
The same applies to workers who are severely injured on the job. Lawful residents and those with work visas have the same rights to file lawsuits as any citizen. If they are injured while working, they may get coverage from workers’ compensation. However, undocumented immigrants face more serious problems.
First, an undocumented immigrant could face penalties if they’re using a social security number created for another person. Second, the employer could face penalties for hiring an undocumented immigrant. Third, it is doubtful the employer will provide support or healthcare for undocumented workers. Moreover, their employer may be incentivized to disavow any relationship with the worker.
Some states, such as those that border a foreign country, do not require employees to have a work permit or work visa to work. In these situations, foreign workers cross the border to work at US-based companies and return to their native country, e.g., Mexico and Canada, at the end of every workday. In these situations, the company may be required to provide insurance and workers’ compensation coverage for its foreign workers. However, if no coverage is provided, the foreign worker may have to file a lawsuit to recover costs for his or her injuries.
Risks In Filing A Suit
However, despite these rights, undocumented immigrants should consult with an attorney before filing a lawsuit. In filing the documents, the court may demand proof of identification at various points, exposing the undocumented immigrant to scrutiny by immigration authorities. Immigrants may be exposed to further legal consequences if they are using invalid or borrowed social security numbers or committing other fraudulent acts.