If a documented or undocumented immigrant in the U.S. is injured in an accident, the injured immigrant may still be able to sue the other party involved. If any injury victim believes negligent or malicious behavior caused an accident that resulted in their injuries, the U.S. has laws that are intended to protect injury victims, regardless of immigrant status.
When Immigrants Can Sue for Injuries
Although not all states in the U.S. consider it a reserved right to sue another person or party for injuries, the U.S. Constitution allows for this. Specifically, the Fourteenth Amendment states that one person is unable to deny another the protection that U.S. laws provide.
This means that if any person working or living in the U.S. sustains injuries as a result of another person or entity’s negligence, injury victims have the right to sue, seeing as immigrant status becomes irrelevant to the case.
What Damages Can an Immigrant Recover When Filing an Injury Claim?
Both undocumented and documented immigrants may be able to sue for a number of damages sustained as a result of an accident and injuries. These may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Home care and medication expenses
While some of these damages are monetary, victims may also be able to recover certain non-monetary damages. Monetary damages are those that have a specific dollar value attached to them, including medical expenses and treatment costs. Meanwhile, non-monetary damages could include certain types of pain and suffering that victims experience as a result of an accident, such as physical or psychological distress.
Injuries Resulting from Workplace Accidents
Many immigrants of varying status work at some of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Whether involved in arideshare accident or injured by heavy equipment at construction sites, there are many potential causes of work-related injuries. Other types of jobs may involve blunt or sharp tools or dangerous chemicals that could cause harm to employees.
The resulting injuries could be life-altering and lead to permanent disability, cutting victims off from their source of income while contributing to long-term costs for treatment and rehabilitation. Many immigrant workers may also suffer from a lack of healthcare. If they are unable to receive medical assistance, they could suffer from untreated injuries that become permanent when otherwise treatable. In the process, many immigrants may fear deportation, which prevents them from seeking legal support or help from law enforcement agencies.
Suing Negligent Parties
Regardless of whether an injury took place at work or another location, injury victims have the right to file a negligence claim under the U.S. Constitution. Filing a lawsuit will have no immediate impact on immigration status, and attorneys may be able to prevent the case from impacting status entirely.
However, in cases involving two or more parties, injury victims need to be able to prove that the other party or parties practiced negligence that resulted in the accident and injuries. This typically entails proving multiple items that constitute negligence. For example, plaintiffs must prove that the other party owed a duty of care, such as keeping other drivers safe on the road. They must then prove that the negligent party performed a breach of duty in causing the accident. Victims then need to prove that the injuries resulted directly from the accident and the other party’s negligence.
Proving causation can be a challenge in many cases, but the extent of the injuries sustained may be able to help prove both causation and negligence.
Seeking Legal Assistance
While many immigrants may prefer to speak with an immigration lawyer over other types of attorneys, a personal injury lawyer may also be able to provide legal support in the event of an injury. It’s important for any injury victims to seek legal support from a legal professional to help prove negligence and increase their chances of recovering compensation for their injuries.
Workers are often especially reluctant to seek assistance out of fear due to employers’ threats. Many employers tend to take advantage of undocumented workers in ways that could increase workers’ risk of injury. These employers may ask employees to perform tasks that they wouldn’t ask of others, such as union members. Additionally, employers who are unwilling to spend more on a safe workspace and safety equipment could further put workers at risk. When a worker is involved in a workplace accident as a result of this unsafe environment, the employer may then scare the victim with the threat of deportation if the victim tries to file a workers’ compensation claim.
The fact is that if any type of takes place and injury victims feel threatened by employers or others, it’s still possible to take action against negligent parties. Attorneys may be able to provide protection and help gather evidence to build a case against negligent parties. They may also be able to provide protection from deportation if an injury victim is undocumented.
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