What Happens If an Undocumented Immigrant Gets in a Car Accident in Texas?
You may be wondering, Can undocumented immigrants sue after a car accident? There are many undocumented immigrants in Texas, and many of them drive. Often when an undocumented immigrant is injured in a car accident, they assume they do not have any legal recourse. However, this is not the case. Citizenship is not a prerequisite for filing a civil lawsuit. An undocumented immigrant in an auto accident should always seek the advice of counsel. Do not automatically assume that you cannot pursue compensation for your injuries. Contact us at the Hartley Law Firm today if you are an undocumented worker involved in a car accident. We will happily take the time to answer your questions and address your concerns.
Undocumented Immigrant and Car Accident Victim — Do I Have the Right to Sue?
In the United States, an undocumented immigrant is someone who was born in a different country and now resides in the United States without the legal right to live here.
Undocumented individuals frequently fear they have no rights in the U.S. court system. Even more so, they fear criminal repercussions if they become noticed or “picked up” by law enforcement. However, as an undocumented immigrant, you still have certain rights. As Texas personal injury attorneys, we are often asked, Can undocumented immigrants sue after a car accident? The answer is yes. Even if you are undocumented, you are still permitted to sue for injuries sustained in a car accident. Like a U.S. citizen, you have the right to be compensated for your damages and losses.
What Recovery Am I Entitled To?
As with any car accident lawsuit, you may be entitled to recovery for your damages. Most accident victims can recover damages to compensate them for their actual losses, including:
Medical Bills and Expenses
It probably comes as no surprise that you may have outstanding medical bills after a car wreck, which often include emergency room bills, physical therapy costs, and pharmaceutical expenses. You can also recover compensation for property damages, such as the damage to your vehicle.
Following an accident, you may miss one day, several days, or long extended periods of work as a result of your injuries. You may be entitled to past, present, and future lost income.
Other damages recoverable in Texas include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
Each case varies. You may be entitled to one form of damages or several. To better understand the type of compensation you may receive, contact our car accident attorneys to discuss the facts specific to your situation.
Immigration Status & Texas Car Accident Laws
In Texas, merely filing an accident claim or civil lawsuit will not disturb an individual’s immigration status. Further, it is unnecessary to reveal your immigration status when speaking with an insurance company. It is also important to note that ICE and other agencies are not automatically informed when someone files a civil complaint. In other words, filing a lawsuit does not trigger any automated notification to the government about your status or the case.
It is also undocumented for insurance companies to refuse to pay claims simply because an accident victim is an undocumented immigrant.
Should your case proceed to litigation, your immigration status will be inadmissible at pre-trial proceedings and during the trial itself. Opposing counsel cannot ask about a plaintiff’s immigration status at any lawsuit stage.
Many undocumented immigrants are uninsured. We are often asked, What if I do not have car insurance? If you were driving an uninsured vehicle and were involved in a car accident, you are still permitted to seek damages for your injuries.
I am an undocumented Immigrant. Should I Still Call the Police?
The answer is yes. Regardless of your immigration status, you should always report an accident to the police. Leaving the scene or failing to report an accident can lead to criminal charges and severe legal and immigration ramifications.
It is essential to understand that if you are involved in an accident and do not have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, or registration, the police officer may detain you. This is true even if you were not the one that caused the accident. And it is true for anyone, regardless of their immigration status. However, you can still pursue a personal injury claim despite being detained.
Further, you may be able to file an accident claim even if you are deported from the United States and returned to your home country.
Even though you may be an undocumented immigrant:
- You are still protected under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause,
- Your immigration status is not admissible at trial or during any part of the litigation, and
- You can sue and recover damages against the individual who caused your injury.
The main thing to understand is you still have avenues of recovery even if you are an undocumented immigrant.
Undocumented Immigrant Auto Accident Attorneys
Contact our auto accident attorneys today if you are unsure about filing a claim following your car accident because of your immigration status. We will listen to your story, answer all of your questions, and guide you on your best course of action. At the Hartley Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing one-on-one personal attention to every client that steps through our doors. We don’t collect a dime until you do. Don’t let your immigration status deter you from fighting for the compensation you deserve. Call us now to discuss your case.