The state of Texas is home to millions of immigrants. In fact, immigrants comprise nearly one-fifth of the state’s population. Many of these immigrants, however, are not yet legal citizens of the United States. If these individuals are injured in a Texas motor vehicle accident, do they have the right to sue for damages?
The laws that impact Fort Worth car accidents do not treat accident victims differently based on their citizenship status. Illegal immigrants have the same rights as victims that citizens do. When injured by the negligence of someone else, illegal immigrants may be entitled to compensation.
Many courts have ruled that an accident victim’s immigration status should have no impact on that victim’s right to compensation. In fact, in one Texas case, the accident victim’s immigration status was kept out of evidence altogether. The judge ruled that a victim’s immigration status could not be introduced as a way to challenge that victim’s character.
In addition, any individual injured in Texas has the right to pursue a legal claim for lost wages and lost earning capacity—even if that individual is an illegal immigrant.
All that matters in a Texas motor vehicle accident claim is whether a victim was injured because of someone else’s negligence.
What Damages Are Available to Illegal Immigrants?
If an illegal immigrant is seriously injured in a Texas car accident, that individual is entitled to the same damages as any other accident victim. These damages include:
- Medical expenses
- The cost of any future medical care that is needed
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Other types of damages may also be available, depending on the facts of the claim.
How Does an Accident Claim Affect Immigration Status?
Many accident victims are understandably worried that pursuing legal action will lead to deportation. These accident victims may endure thousands of dollars in medical expenses that they should not have to pay. Although it is impossible to say whether a personal injury claim or lawsuit will eventually reveal an accident victim’s immigration status, there are a few points to keep in mind.
Simply filing an accident claim or personal injury lawsuit in Texas will not impact an individual’s immigration status. It is not necessary to reveal one’s immigration status when discussing a claim with an insurance company or that insurance company’s attorney. Additionally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement are not automatically notified when civil lawsuits are filed.
Insurance companies are also not allowed to refuse to pay claims simply because an accident victim is an illegal immigrant. Similarly, attorneys may not use an accident victim’s immigration status as a weapon against them. An attorney cannot say, “If you sue for your accident, I will report you to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” Such a practice is unethical.
Should Illegal Immigrants Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
Illegal immigrants have the right to have their legal rights protected, just like everyone else. The best way to protect one’s legal interests is to hire an experienced Fort Worth personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident. This is especially true if the accident victim is not fluent in English. Understanding the motor vehicle accident legal process is difficult enough without the added challenge of not being able to speak or read the English language.
Experienced personal injury attorneys, especially those who are fluent in Spanish, are able to help illegal immigrants pursue legal action when they are injured in motor vehicle accidents through no fault of their own. These attorneys help all accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve.
If You Have Been Injured, Call Patterson Law Group Today
The Fort Worth, Texas personal injury attorneys at Patterson Law Group has assisted clients in all types of personal injury claims and are prepared to help you as well, even if you are an undocumented immigrant. To schedule a free consultation with our firm, (817) 784-2000 or visit www.pattersonpersonalinjury.com. Se hablaEspañol.