Many undocumented immigrants fear filing a personal injury lawsuit because of deportation and other adverse immigration repercussions. While there may be definite considerations to discuss with an attorney before filing, undocumented immigrants have a right to pursue personal injury claims. Being undocumented does not mean you don’t have a family to feed and bills to pay. Injury victims—no matter their immigration status—have the legal right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against any individual responsible for their injuries.
Undocumented Immigrants and Personal Injury Claims
If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and losses, regardless of your immigration status. Common types of personal injury actions include:
- Auto accidents,
- Product liability claims,
- Premise liability accidents (e.g., slip and fall),
- Medical malpractice, and
- Workplace accidents.
The type and severity of your injuries—not your immigration status—will determine your recovery. If you are unsure of your eligibility, call the Hartley Law Firm, and we will address your concerns and answer your questions.
Undocumented immigrants are often deterred from seeking compensation for injuries out of fear of deportation or other negative immigration implications. But undocumented immigrants are generally protected from disclosing their immigration status in lawsuits. This principle applies throughout the litigation process, discovery, and trial. Insurance companies, opposing counsel, or any other party involved cannot ask you about your immigration status or use it against you. Don’t be afraid to speak up simply because you may be residing here illegally. Instead, contact the attorneys at the Hartley Law Firm and let us help you.
Workplace Injuries and Undocumented Workers
Even undocumented immigrants have rights in the workplace. Unlike other States, Texas law does not require an employer to carry workers’ compensation coverage. But most employers do. If a Texas employer has workers’ compensation insurance, they must provide coverage to undocumented employees.
The Texas Workers’ Compensation Act provides income and medical benefits for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. The law does not discriminate between documented and undocumented workers.
If you are injured during your job duties, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost wages, regardless of your citizenship status. Not being discouraged from seeking medical attention if you are injured on the job is imperative. Undocumented immigrants are entitled to medical care and injury protection, just as other Texas residents.
Many workers fear reporting their workplace injuries at the risk of being fired, deported, or unable to recover benefits because of their immigration status. However, Texas law explicitly allows undocumented workers to seek workers’ compensation benefits. The law protects undocumented employees from being taken advantage of or denied benefits afforded to other employees. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can shed more insight into your options.
What If My Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
Whether you are an undocumented immigrant or not, if your employer does not maintain workers’ compensation coverage or some alternative and you are injured on the job, your only recourse is to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, it is crucial to understand that a civil lawsuit is typically much more involved, lengthy, and generally challenging than a workers’ compensation claim. If you were injured at work and your employer does not have workers’ comp coverage, it is a good idea to meet with an attorney before filing a civil complaint.
Things to Consider Before Filing a Claim
Filing a personal injury action of any kind can be complicated. These claims require specific knowledge of the law and the necessities for success. For instance, if you file a negligence complaint, you must prove four essential elements to succeed.
- The defendant owed you a duty of care,
- The defendant breached that duty,
- Their breach caused your injuries,
- And you suffered damages as a result.
Proving these elements is not always easy. It is best to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury before moving forward. Depending on your case’s specific facts and circumstances, more than one individual can be responsible for the accident, including the plaintiff. If the plaintiff is partially at fault, their recovery may be reduced.
The best course of action is to hire a skilled personal injury attorney to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome.
Dallas, Texas, Personal Injury Attorneys
At the Hartley Law Firm, we understand the sensitive dynamic of having illegal immigration status and residing in the United States. It is undoubtedly nerve-wracking looking over your shoulder at every turn. Being injured in an accident and too fearful of seeking the care and compensation you deserve is no way to live. If you or someone you love has been injured due to someone else’s actions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options with an experienced personal injury lawyer today. Let us seek the justice you deserve!