Can an Undocumented Immigrant Sue for Personal Injury in Massachusetts?
Undocumented immigrants are regularly taken advantage of, and many of them are afraid of taking legal action or believe they are not allowed to. The truth is that undocumented immigrants may file personal injury lawsuits regardless of residency status.
Undocumented immigrants are allowed to file personal injury lawsuits after being hurt. The fact that they are not citizens of the United States or perhaps are not residing here under lawful circumstances does not prevent them from seeking justice. Many immigrants fear deportation if they interact with the legal system in any way. In reality, filing a lawsuit is not a condition that may be used to justify deportation. You can claim damages just like anybody else filing a lawsuit, including financial costs like lost wages. You should consider filing a lawsuit because, even though you are undocumented, you still have rights and should not be taken advantage of by others.
Contact our Boston personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan by calling (617) 925-6407 and set up a free review of your case.
Are Undocumented Immigrants Allowed to File Personal Injury Lawsuits in Massachusetts?
Contrary to what any undocumented people living in the United States believe, they can legally file personal injury lawsuits and other claims. Many people mistakenly believe you must be a full-fledged citizen or at least a lawful resident to take advantage of the courts and justice system. The truth is that all people, regardless of citizenship or documentation, have rights and may exercise those rights when they feel violated.
To file a personal injury lawsuit as an undocumented immigrant, you should first meet with a personal injury attorney. While the law does not require you to have an attorney to begin a lawsuit, initiating a lawsuit on your own might be extremely challenging, and it is best to get help from an experienced lawyer.
Personal injury claims cover a very broad spectrum of injuries. Claims commonly handled by our Massachusetts personal injury attorneys include car accidents, workplace injuries, slip and fall accidents, and injuries from defective goods and products. In short, if you were injured because of someone else’s actions, you may sue that person for damages even if you live undocumented in the United States.
Can I Be Deported if I Sue for Personal Injuries in Massachusetts?
One of the biggest concerns among undocumented immigrants taking legal action is deportation. It is common for immigrants to refrain from filing lawsuits because they fear the authorities will discover they are undocumented and deport them. As far as personal injury claims go, courts and attorneys do not care whether you are undocumented and should not report you to the authorities for deportation.
On top of all that, the defendant is not allowed to demand your immigration status as part of the lawsuit. In a personal injury lawsuit, the parties involved (i.e., you and the person you are suing) must share information that is relevant to the case. This is called the discovery phase of the case. Your immigration status is irrelevant to your injuries or damages and is therefore off limits, meaning you do not have to disclose it to the defendant if they ask.
Filing a lawsuit is not even among the reasons why undocumented immigrants might be deported. According to 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a), reasons, why an undocumented person could be deported, include criminal offenses, document fraud, marriage fraud, drug offenses, and smuggling, to name a few. Filing a lawsuit or otherwise using the justice system for its intended purposes is not a deportable offense.
Damages You Can Claim as an Undocumented Immigrant in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Massachusetts
Another source of confusion for undocumented people with personal injury claims is damages. Your damages are the losses you experienced because of your injuries. Damages may reflect economic losses or non-economic injuries. In short, undocumented people should be able to claim the same damages as anyone else in a personal injury lawsuit.
Economic damages should express the monetary losses and costs related to your injuries. For example, after being injured, you should have gone to a hospital for emergency medical treatment. Your medical bills should be included in your economic damages. If you lost property, such as a car, in a car accident, you can claim the cost of your property among your economic damages.
One very important aspect of economic damages that undocumented plaintiffs should consider is lost wages. Often, undocumented people do not have legal permission to work in the United States. As a result, defendants often claim that undocumented plaintiffs cannot claim the value of lost wages because they were not legally entitled to earn wages in the first place. This argument has been shot down in numerous courts across the country, and you absolutely should claim any income you lost due to your injuries.
Non-economic damages are made up of injuries and losses that did not cost money but still imposed a significant burden on your life and well-being. Physical pain, psychological trauma, emotional anguish, humiliation, and other painful ordeals should be accounted for. Ultimately, juries are responsible for assessing the value of these damages and determining an appropriate award.
Reasons Why You Should File a Personal Injury Claim as an Undocumented Immigrant in Massachusetts
It is normal for anyone, not just undocumented people, to hesitate when filing a personal injury lawsuit. Lawsuits tend to be time-consuming, frustrating, and emotionally draining. On top of that, undocumented people have a whole other set of fears and concerns regarding documentation and citizenship. At the end of the day, you should file a lawsuit because you deserve fair compensation for your injuries and damages. You should not be denied justice because of your undocumented status.
Call Our Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Today
Get in touch with our Cambridge personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan by calling (617) 925-6407 and schedule a free, confidential review of your case.