Can an Illegal Immigrant File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A common misconception about illegal immigrants is that they have no legal rights. This is far from the truth. If you are living and working in the United States, you do have certain rights.
One important right is the ability to file a lawsuit. American laws usually allow an illegal immigrant to file a personal injury lawsuit, especially in injuries that cause extreme pain and suffering.
You may discuss your rights and ability to file a lawsuit with a local injury attorney. Complete the form on this page to speak with an injury attorney near you for free.
An Illegal Immigrant May be Able to File an On-the-Job Injury Lawsuit
While official statistics do not reveal the exact number of illegal immigrants working in the United States, their number is at least several million. As a result, many so-called "illegals" do a significant amount of work in the U.S.
With millions of illegals working on American soil, often doing manual labor on a farm or in a factory, on-the-job injuries occur very frequently.
If an injury suffered at work was caused by the employer’s negligent or intentional conduct, an illegal immigrant may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. Possible examples of unlawful conduct by an employer include:
- Forcing employees to work an excessive number of hours
- Creating a hostile work environment through physical or verbal abuse
- Failing to remedy unsafe working conditions
- Grossly underpaying or failing to pay employees
In addition to filing an injury claim against an employer for negligence, an employee may also be able to file a worker’s compensation claim. Such claims, however, rely on a contractual relationship, and may not apply to some illegal immigrants.
Of course, an illegal may also file an injury lawsuit for injuries suffered due to other common types of incidents, such as a slip-and-fall accident, medical malpractice, or police brutality.
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Practical Concerns for an Illegal Immigrant Filing an Injury Lawsuit
A common concern for illegal immigrants is that filing an injury lawsuit will result in their deportation.
While there may be some valid concerns about revealing one’s identity to the authorities, the lawsuit itself may pose little risk of deportation. This is because:
- An injury lawsuit is focused on the injury itself, not the residence status of the person who file suit.
- It may be unethical for an opposing attorney to question your legal status.
The fear of being “outed” as an illegal immigrant, and subsequently deported, is a valid concern and should be discussed with your injury attorney.
Remember, though, that illegal immigrants do possess the power to file an injury lawsuit if they have been harmed by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions.
To learn more about filing a claim, contact a local personal injury lawyer today.