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Immigration Status: Does It Matter in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016By Richard Alexander

What happens when an immigrant is badly injured in an accident in the United States? Can he or she file a personal injury lawsuit to recover money damages? Does his or her immigration status matter?

First, the United States Supreme Court has clearly ruled that any person has the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit, regardless of his or her immigration status. The federal Constitution guarantees people due process rights. These rights include the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit to hold a wrongdoer accountable after an accident.

However, wrongdoing defendants often argue that if an immigrant wins his or her lawsuit, any money awarded should be based on rates in that person’s home country. For example, defense attorneys often argue that any recovery for lost wages should be based on what the person would have made in his or her country of residence, rather than U.S. wages.

A second example is that defense attorneys frequently argue that any medical expenses awarded should be based on the cost of care in the person’s home country. Both of these arguments are based on the idea that the immigrant should not be present in our nation to begin with and that, therefore, any money damages should be based on rates in the person’s nation of residence.

Fortunately, the California State Legislature recognizes the realities facing immigrants injured in the U.S. Earlier this year, the legislature passed a law making immigration status irrelevant in personal injury and wrongful death cases. The law specifically provides that no evidence of immigration status can be discovered or admitted into evidence.

This law provides important protections for people who are injured here in the U.S. A person’s injuries are no less severe or devastating just because the victim was not born in the U.S.

If you or someone you know suffered serious injuries in an accident, please contact Alexander Law Group, LLP immediately to discuss your rights. Call 888.777.1776 right now, for a free, confidential, and personal consultation with one of our attorneys or contact us online.

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