January 26, 2016
Does Your Immigration Status Affect Your Right to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
By Jonathan Damashek
An important issue that is commonly faced by workers and individuals injured by others is whether their immigration status affects their rights to file a personal injury lawsuit. It is common for workers to not pursue their benefits out of fear that coming forward will bring attention to their immigration status.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to every person within the boarders of the United States, regardless of citizenship, the right to equal protection under the law. This is important because it is unfortunately the case that those without settled immigration status or those without status are the most vulnerable and affected the most adversely when injured by an accident at work or by the neglect of someone else.
Your immigration status has no affect on your ability to filing a personal injury or civil rights lawsuit, nor on you or your coworkers’ ability to come forward and speak about any witnessed accidents or neglect. Witnesses who might have important information about an accident or neglect often keep quiet out of fear that questions about their immigration status might turn a judge or jury against them or, worse, cause them legal trouble of their own. Thankfully there are strong legal protections in place to ensure that witnesses with relevant information are able to access the court system.
There have been many cases of undocumented immigrants who have filed personal injury lawsuits in the State of New York who have taken their cases to the highest court in the state, and have received lawful compensation for their injuries.
While you should disclose your immigration status to your personal injury lawyer, your status will not prevent you from obtaining your lawful compensation for your injuries.