Undocumented Immigrants and Post-Accident Rights
As most of us are likely aware, Florida is home to a significant number of undocumented immigrants. As recent as 2016, the Pew Research Center estimated that there were approximately 775,000 undocumented immigrants in the state who comprised 18 percent of the immigrant population and almost four percent of the total state population. And with the recent shift in the presidential administration, some undocumented immigrants have publicly expressed excitement about President Joe Biden’s plan to provide a path to U.S. citizenship for roughly 11 million people without legal status. The newly inaugurated president has already begun reversing the restrictions and mass deportation that have been commonplace during the last four years by, among other measures, quickly issuing executive orders that halted work on a U.S.-Mexico border wall and lifted a travel ban on people from several predominantly Muslim countries.
Rights for Injured Undocumented Accident Victims
This comes as a relief for many undocumented individuals who live in the Sunshine State, including those who have been injured in collisions that were caused by someone else. Accidents just happen – they can happen whether an individual is in the country legally or illegally. Importantly, it should be understood that if you suffer injuries because of someone else’s negligence and you happen to not have legal immigration status, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have legal rights. Whether you are documented or undocumented, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim. You can even pursue parties in a lawsuit to recover for any losses you suffered due to your injuries if another person contributed to those injuries through their negligence.
Will My Immigration Status Be an Issue at Trial?
Regardless of who is in the White House and how much reform immigration law may undergo in the near future, the idea of going to a court full of people tasked with upholding the law may be intimidating and even downright scary for anyone who knows they are undocumented. You can rest assured that generally speaking, immigration status will not become an issue at trial if an injured person is only making a claim for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Damaged personal property
- Pain and Suffering
- In the event of a wrongful death, burial expenses
In fact, injured undocumented workers would only need to discuss immigration status in front of a jury here in Florida if seeking compensation for lost future earnings.
The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Attorney
If you are an undocumented immigrant who has been injured by someone else’s negligence, the reality is that even in a world where restrictions for illegal immigrants are being scaled back, you still have certain obstacles to overcome that other injured persons do not have to deal with. First and foremost after an accident, you need to ensure you are evaluated by a medical professional. Afterward, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. As the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm, we are experienced in handling challenging personal injury cases of all kinds and we offer the assistance you need and can rely on. Contact us today for a confidential and free consultation to discuss your rights and options.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Orlando, Miami, Ocala, Bradenton, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Jacksonville and Daytona Beach areas.