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Injured immigrants have legal rights

If you sustained injuries in a car accident, your undocumented status may have you wondering whether you should pursue compensation. However, going to the hospital and receiving medical treatment can be extremely expensive. The person who caused the crash would likely be liable for these costs under normal circumstances.

Do you have the right to file a claim? Will filing a claim result in unwanted legal attention?

Your rights

According to the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, no state can deny equal legal protection to anyone within its jurisdiction. The Equal Protection clause refers to all people who are in the United States. So, laws that protect life, liberty and happiness apply to you as well as citizens and immigrants with proper documentation. This includes the right to file a claim against a negligent person who caused your injury.

The process

Insurance companies often offer low amounts at first, but they may offer more if someone files a lawsuit, so your case may never go before a judge. However, insurance companies will not pay out more than the coverage the responsible person has purchased, so if you want to file a lawsuit against the individual, you will likely have to go to court.

Although a lawsuit may bring you in close contact with law enforcement, judges and other authorities, you will not have to discuss your legal status. Filing the police report at the time of the accident, obtaining a copy of the report, filing the claim with the insurance company and filing your case with the court do not require proof of citizenship.

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