Can Undocumented Immigrants Sue For Injury in NYC?

Table of Contents

    As an undocumented immigrant, you have certain rights. That includes the right to sue for compensation if you are injured in an accident in New York City.

    Undocumented immigrants can file a lawsuit for compensation if they are injured by a negligent party in New York City. This applies to undocumented people injured at work by a negligent manufacturer and those hurt in car accidents. Undocumented immigrants are not restricted in other areas of personal injury, including premises liability, medical malpractice, and product liability. After an accident, victims should report their injuries, seek medical attention, and file a lawsuit. The same type of compensation is available to undocumented immigrants as citizens, meaning victims can recover economic, non-economic, and sometimes punitive damages regardless of their immigration status.

    For a free and confidential case review with our New York City personal injury lawyers, call The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083.

    Can Undocumented Immigrants Sue After a Work Injury in NYC?

    Undocumented immigrants in New York City often work in the construction industry, putting them at risk of being harmed in dangerous workplace accidents. If you are undocumented and are injured at work, you have the right to seek compensation in New York City, regardless of the industry you work in.

    Employer Lawsuits

    In most cases, workers of any kind cannot file a workplace accident lawsuit against an employer in New York City, provided the employer has the necessary insurance. Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants might be hired by employers that fail to get work injury insurance, meaning they cannot file an insurance claim for compensation. If your employer does have insurance and you are undocumented, you will most likely be covered by their policy.

    No law prevents undocumented employees from filing a workplace accident lawsuit against an employer in New York City if their employer does not have insurance. Our Queens personal injury lawyers can help you navigate this type of case and explain what to do if your employer threatens you with retaliation or deportation if you sue. If your employer does not have insurance and you are hurt at work, you will have three years to file a lawsuit.

    Third-Party Lawsuits

    Sometimes, workplace accidents that injure undocumented workers are caused by negligent manufacturers or others. In these circumstances, undocumented immigrants can file a third-party workplace accident lawsuit for compensation, regardless of whether or not an employer has insurance. That is because undocumented workers, in these instances, are holding a negligent third party accountable, not an employer. The three-year statute of limitations also applies to undocumented workers seeking compensation via a third-party workplace accident lawsuit.

    Can Undocumented Immigrants File a Car Accident Lawsuit in NYC?

    Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be challenging for undocumented immigrants in New York City, depending on whether or not they have auto insurance. This is because New York is a no-fault state for car accidents.

    In New York City, victims can only sue a negligent driver if their injuries surpass the serious injury threshold or if they incur a basic economic loss of more than $50, 000. This rule also applies to undocumented immigrants.

    If your injuries are not severe enough, you may have to turn to your own car insurance to cover the cost of your damages. Fortunately, undocumented immigrants can get personal injury protection insurance in many instances. Undocumented immigrants can also get New York driver’s licenses. This personal injury protection insurance will apply to you whether you are injured in a crash as a driver, bicyclist, passenger, or pedestrian. It does not extend to motorcycle accidents.

    To sue, undocumented immigrants, documented immigrants, and American citizens must meet certain criteria. The serious injury threshold for car accident lawsuits in New York includes death and injuries of dismemberment, disfigurement, and fractures. Victims can also sue if their injuries cause the loss of a fetus or serious or permanent loss or limited use of a body member or function.

    New York uses the 90/180 rule, which allows victims to meet the serious injury threshold if a doctor confirms that their injuries prevent them from engaging in normal activity for at least 90 of the first 180 days following an accident.

    Undocumented immigrants whose injuries do not meet the serious injury threshold defined by I.S.C. Law § 5102(d) can file a lawsuit against a negligent driver if they incur economic damages greater than $50,000.

    Can Undocumented Immigrants File Other Personal Injury Claims in NYC?

    Car crashes and workplace accidents are not the only incidents that might cause injury to undocumented immigrants in New York City. In light of this, undocumented immigrants have the right to file a lawsuit against a negligent party that causes them injury in other circumstances as well.

    Personal injury claims can arise from various types of accidents. Undocumented immigrants, just like documented immigrants and citizens, might be injured by a negligent party at any time. For example, slip and fall accidents might lead to premises liability lawsuits. As an undocumented immigrant, you can sue a negligent property owner for causing your injuries.

    Undocumented immigrants can also file medical malpractice claims against a negligent doctor or hospital that breaches their owed duty of care. Undocumented immigrants are not prevented from filing wrongful death claims, and personal representatives of undocumented immigrants are not barred from bringing wrongful death claims on behalf of their loved ones. The same ability applies to undocumented people who wish to file a product liability suit against a negligent manufacturer.

    Undocumented people can also bring claims on matters other than injury, like discrimination. Documentation status does not prevent you from seeking compensation from an at-fault party under many circumstances in New York City.

    Are Undocumented Immigrants in NYC at Risk of Deportation if They Sue for Injury?

    Although undocumented immigrants are legally allowed to bring personal injury lawsuits and should if a negligent party hurts them, there are understandable fears surrounding taking such action. Immigrants might fear deportation or arrest if they assert their rights and file compensation claims.

    Agencies that enforce immigration laws, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other agencies within the Department of Homeland Security, are not permitted to deport someone simply because they filed a personal injury lawsuit. It is also unlikely that such agencies will learn of your immigration status and deport or arrest you because you are seeking compensation. Furthermore, you will likely not be deported during the course of a lawsuit even if ICE has been notified of your immigration status since you have the right to recovery.

    That said, at-fault parties might attempt to threaten or scare undocumented immigrants so they do not sue. Our Bronx personal injury lawyers can stand up to such threats and help you get the compensation you deserve. Undocumented immigrants should report any attempts of intimidation or discrimination throughout the litigation process.

    Unfortunately, undocumented people are at risk of deportation at any time. While it is unlikely that you will be deported if you file a personal injury claim, it is not guaranteed.

    Should Undocumented Immigrants File Personal Injury Lawsuits in NYC?

    The sheer financial impact of serious injuries caused by a negligent party can be overwhelming for anyone. Because undocumented immigrants might have difficulty finding reliable work in New York City, they may only earn a small income that is insufficient to cover the expenses associated with treating such injuries.

    After being injured in a car crash, workplace accident, or other incidents, you might require medical attention. More severe injuries often require testing, rehabilitation, and prescription medication. Undocumented immigrants may be less likely to have insurance that could otherwise help cover the cost of such damages. This is why filing a lawsuit for compensation is often crucial.

    Furthermore, you have the right to hold a negligent party accountable as an undocumented immigrant. This is true both on the state and federal levels. Allowing your immigration status to influence your decision on whether or not to file a lawsuit may leave you without sufficient funds to cover your damages, both economic and non-economic.

    What to Do if You Are Injured in NYC as an Undocumented Immigrant

    If you are injured as an undocumented immigrant in New York City, you should do a few important things. After reporting your injuries, go to the hospital. Then, you can file a lawsuit for compensation.

    Report Your Injuries

    Though many undocumented immigrants might fear calling the police after a car accident, it is important to do so. You won’t have to disclose your immigration status to law enforcement officers or a negligent party. In fact, it may be better not to. An at-fault might wrongly try to use your status against you if you sue them for damages. The police must be called in New York City any time a car accident results in injury.

    You might not have to inform law enforcement of other accidents, like workplace accidents or slip and falls. Instead, report your injuries to your employer or whichever person is at fault. This is best done in writing so that there is proof of the fact that you reported your injuries.

    Go to the Hospital

    After reporting your injuries, go to the hospital. Again, this can be a frightening step for undocumented immigrants. However, it is necessary so that medical professionals can diagnose your injuries and provide you with a treatment plan. Your medical records and bills will be important when proving fault and your need for damages in a lawsuit.

    File a Claim

    As previously stated, undocumented immigrants abide by the same three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims as anyone else in New York City. In order for undocumented immigrants to feel comfortable pursuing compensation, it is important for them to find an attorney that understands their situation and will fight on their behalf, regardless of their immigration status. Depending on a defendant’s willingness to accept fault for your injuries, you may be able to settle your case out of court and avoid going to trial if that is causing you concern because of your status.

    What Types of Damages Can Undocumented Immigrants Recover in NYC?

    Undocumented immigrants in New York City can recover the same type of compensation as any other victim. Your immigration status should not impact the damages you receive at the end of a personal injury suit.

    Economic Damages

    According to data from a 2017 report by NYC Opportunity, the median income for undocumented immigrants was $25,300, about half the income of people born in the United States. Based on these numbers, medical bills from an injury alone might bankrupt an undocumented immigrant living in New York City trying to make ends meet. If an undocumented person sues a negligent party, they can recover compensation for economic damages such as lost wages and medical bills. This allows undocumented immigrants to treat their injuries fully without worrying about the cost.

    Non-Economic Damages

    Like any other resident of New York City, undocumented immigrants can recover non-economic damages in many cases. These damages attempt to compensate victims for the pain and suffering they have experienced as a result of their injuries. Pain and suffering includes post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and any other emotional or mental challenges experienced by a victim following an accident.

    Punitive Damages

    Punitive damages are available in cases involving a defendant that acted with gross negligence or intentional malice when causing a victim’s injuries. Again, these damages are not exclusive to documented immigrants or citizens and can be recovered by undocumented immigrants if a defendant’s actions meet the necessary criteria. Undocumented immigrants may be more likely to recover punitive damages in third-party workplace accident lawsuits or product liability lawsuits.

    Contact Our NYC Attorneys About Your Personal Injury Case

    For a free case evaluation with the Harlem personal injury lawyers, call The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083.