Can an Undocumented Immigrant Sue for Personal Injury?

  • December 13, 2019
  • Blog
Can an Undocumented Immigrant Sue for Personal Injury?

Many undocumented immigrants feel helpless when they’ve sustained any kind of accident injury. Fears of deportation and arrest may stop undocumented immigrants from filing personal injury claims. These individuals than suffer in silence while the negligent individuals who hurt them escape responsibility.

There are over 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. If you or a loved one or a friend is an undocumented citizen who sustained an injury in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, then you should contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Mattiacci Law for a free consultation so we can help you better understand your rights and best strategies towards compensation.

Workplace Injuries

Immigrants (both documented and undocumented) are typically the individuals who work some of the most dangerous jobs. This includes construction, demolition, agriculture and roofing tasks that may put an undocumented worker at risk of injury on a daily basis.

Many workplace injuries involving undocumented immigrants are associated with employers exposing their employees to dangerous conditions, heavy equipment and even dangerous chemicals that other people are afraid to be around each and every day. There are countless instances in which undocumented workers suffer devastating or life-altering injuries and then simply are confused or unsure as to what they can do about these injuries within the legal system. This is especially the case when undocumented workers are not provided healthcare or worker’s compensation benefits from their employer.

Many employers hire undocumented immigrants to save money. The employer benefits from not only getting cheaper labor but often will not have paid for worker’s compensation insurance and can save additional money by not having to pay benefits such as health insurance. 

It’s important for everyone to know that immigrants, legal or not, are protected under the law to pursue personal injury lawsuits no matter where the accident occurs. But still, so many immigrants simply aren’t aware of their rights or are stifled by fear when it comes to obtaining their rightful compensation when they have legal grounds for a negligence claim.

Proving Negligence

Being able to prove the four elements of negligence is paramount to just about every personal injury claim, regardless of immigration status. The four elements include the following:

  1. Duty
  2. Breach of Duty
  3. Causation
  4. Harm/Damages

Proving negligence is unique within every personal injury case, which is why hiring an experienced personal injury legal team is so crucial to your chances of success in obtaining your maximum amount of compensation.

Recovering Damages

Personal injury claimants, whether legal citizens or undocumented immigrants have the right to request compensation for all the damages associated with their accident. Some of the common types of recoverable damages include:

  • Lost wages
  • Hospital bills
  • Rehabilitation and medication expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • And more…

It’s important to know that your citizenship status and overall authorization to work within the United States does not prevent you from obtaining these crucial compensatory damages after sustaining an injury that was caused by another party’s negligence.

Deportation Fears Stop Many From Filing a Claim — But You Have Rights

There’s no denying the fact that many companies will take advantage of undocumented workers when it comes to dangerous jobs. Many employers will ask undocumented workers to do things that less vulnerable employees, like union workers, would fight against. There are many instances in which employers will skimp out on safety equipment and regulations towards their undocumented workers, all for the sake of saving money.

In construction cases or when workers are hurt on the job, there can be significant consequences for the employer if that employer does not have worker’s compensation coverage. For example, if an employer in Pennsylvania hires undocumented immigrants and does not maintain worker’s compensation insurance then the employer can be held criminally liable for failing to have that insurance. See 77 P.S. § 501. Not only that, the injured worker can sue his or her employer for damages such as pain and suffering, which would usually be barred by worker’s compensation laws.

Personal injury lawsuits support people who desperately need to recover their rightful compensation in order to cover the damages the accident and subsequent negligent party caused. Pennsylvania and New Jersey courts have firmly stated that immigration status has no bearing on whether or not an accident victim can receive their rightful compensation. While many immigrants can be afraid to engage in the court system, they still have the right to do so.

If you or a loved one has endured an injury due to someone else’s negligence, then you are capable of filing a personal injury claim. But there’s no doubt about it that undocumented individuals need legal assistance while navigating these types of legal situations.

Contact us for a free consultation so we can review your accident situation and help you determine your best course for legal action.

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