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Topics Covered Immigration Status, Accidents or Injuries, and Your Rights

Court Rulings and Examples of Aliens Who Have Received Money Damages for Injuries Due to Accidents or Negligence

INTRODUCTION: Aliens, legal or illegal, have the same rights as any other person in the United States to make a claim or sue to recover money damages for injuries sustained by reason of an accident caused by the negligence of another. This right is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

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Immigration Status, Accidents or Injuries, and Your Rights

Let's look at a typical situation, in which a person whose immigration status is questionable is involved in a accident and is injured in New York. This person may be working or not working, and is without adequate documentation. The alien could be crippled, disabled and confined to a hospital.

Furthermore, he or she is probably without income, being harassed by bill collectors, unable to speak English, and tragically unaware that he has the right to retain a lawyer who can secure all of the same benefits that a citizen is entitled under the same circumstances. Aliens in this situation are often gripped by an unreasonable fear that a claim will result in immediate deportation. The fact of the matter is that there is no reasonable basis for this fear.

The Supreme Court of the United States, the highest Court in this land and charged with interpreting the Constitution, has ruled that all persons, including aliens ( legal or illegal ), have the right to sue and recover money damages in all United States Courts.

Court Rulings and Examples of Aliens Who Have Received Money Damages for Injuries Due to Accidents or Negligence

In a reported case, an illegal alien was injured as the result of a fall on a defective stairway in an apartment building, sustaining very severe injuries. The owner of the building argued in the State Court that since the tenant was in the country illegally, he was not entitled to sue and recover a money award. The Court ruled favorably on behalf of the injured alien. This Court was required to follow the holding of the Supreme Court that illegal aliens were protected by the law and could not be discriminated against.

In another case, a welder, who was an undocumented alien, fell into an open pit that was used to collect waste in a factory. The alien was severely injured, and brought suit in a U.S. Court -- the claim being that the open pit was inadequately guarded. The Company argued that the alien had no right to bring a case in the Federal Court because of his alien status. Again, this Court ruled that the illegal alien enjoyed all of the same privileges as those enjoyed by United States citizens. The Court then affirmed a generous award which had been rendered on behalf of the injured alien.

This protection applies to law suits to recover an award on behalf of the Estate of an alien whose death is caused by reason of the negligence of another. A law suit may be successfully brought in the United States to recover for the wrongful death of an undocumented alien, even though none of his family or relatives reside here. Usually, the lawyer who is retained can arrange for the appointment of a proper person to represent the interests of the immediate family, without any monetary loss to the heirs.

It has been our experience that the fear of deportation resulting from the bringing a law suit to recover money damages is unwarranted. Furthermore, it is our judgment that it has never been established that there is any link between bringing a claim and subsequent action taken by immigration authorities against an undocumented alien.

If you or a member of your family are undocumented and have been injured by reason of a accident, your right to make a claim is protected by Law. Get in touch with a lawyer experienced in handling accident cases as soon as possible.