How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York if You Are Undocumented

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    The ability to sue for injuries in the United States is not just reserved for citizens. Non-citizens may also file lawsuits for things like personal injuries, even if they are undocumented.

    Undocumented individuals are often very vulnerable to exploitation and injuries. Undocumented people may be taken advantage of by people from employers to coworkers to neighbors. While undocumented people can certainly sue for injuries they sustained because of another, they often do not do so out of fear of deportation. While being undocumented technically means the government may deport you, you likely would not be if you have legal matters pending. To file a personal injury lawsuit, you would take the same steps as anyone else, including assessing damages, finding evidence, and submitting a complaint. Common injuries experienced by undocumented people include car accidents, workplace injuries, and premises liability accidents. You should not be deported simply because you filed a lawsuit while undocumented.

    Our New York personal injury attorneys at The Carrion Law Firm can schedule a free review of your case for no cost when you call (718) 841-0083.

    Can Undocumented Immigrants in New York File Personal Injury Lawsuits?

    Being able to file an injury lawsuit is not a privilege. It is part of a person’s fundamental rights. As such, all people within the U.S. have this right, regardless of their documented or undocumented status. Even tourists from other countries who do not intend to remain in the United States can sue if injured.

    Being undocumented does not restrict you from suing for injuries and damages after someone hurts you. Many undocumented individuals are understandably afraid of taking legal action because they fear deportation. For some, they and their families are undocumented, and they fear that if they try to take legal action for damages, their whole family might be deported.

    Undocumented individuals are victimized and have their rights violated more often than many people realize. People often take advantage of undocumented individuals knowing they can intimidate them into staying quiet. Our Staten Island personal injury attorneys will protect you from these threats and from government agencies who might be interested in detaining or deporting you.

    Generally, the government agencies and authorities you might come up against or interact with in a lawsuit have nothing to do with immigration or homeland security. In fact, your undocumented status might not even be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    How to Sue for Personal Injuries as an Undocumented Person in New York

    The steps to file a lawsuit as an undocumented person are largely the same as those taken by a documented person or citizen. First, you should speak to a lawyer about your situation and the fact that you are undocumented. Many undocumented individuals hesitate to speak with anyone involved in the legal field because they fear being reported to ICE or a similar agency. The truth is, your attorney is on your side and will protect you in any way they can, including from the government.

    Your Brooklyn personal injury attorney can help you assess your damages. Your damage should accurately account for the losses, injuries, and painful experiences you incurred because of your injuries. Many damages are related to money (e.g., medical bills, property damage, lost wages), while others are based on personal experiences (e.g., pain and suffering).

    Next, you need evidence to support your claims for damages. Evidence might be physical, testimonial, documentary, or something else entirely. Evidence is often unique to the situation, and you should thoroughly discuss your case with your attorney to figure out where and how to find evidence.

    Once you have all the important details about your case assembled, you must file a formal complaint with the appropriate court. The complaint kicks off your lawsuit, and if certain information is missing from the complaint, your entire claim might be in jeopardy.

    You should not be deported or get into trouble because you filed a lawsuit. However, the other party might try to threaten or scare you into dropping your lawsuit by threatening to report you to the authorities. Even if ICE is made aware of your undocumented status, they should not take you into custody or try to deport you while your case is pending.

    Can Undocumented People Be Deported for Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits in New York?

    Undocumented people usually are not detained or deported simply because they file a lawsuit. Anyone, including undocumented people, can file lawsuits in the United States. However, the defendant could retaliate by reporting you to the authorities. Even if government agencies are made aware of your undocumented status, they might not take you into custody to begin deportation proceedings for several reasons.

    First, according to 8 U.S.C. § 1227, multiple conditions allow the government to begin deportation hearings. While you can be deported by being undocumented, many other reasons are often prioritized. For example, the government is more interested in deporting people who have committed crimes or have been shown to be threats to homeland security. Filing a lawsuit is not a valid reason why the government would deport an undocumented person.

    Second, government agencies have expressed greater interest in pursuing certain cases involving undocumented people. In 2021, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a statement explaining that the United States is not interested in deporting people simply because they are undocumented. Instead, immigration officials and agencies must follow new guidelines that focus on detaining and deporting undocumented people who are a risk to national or border security and public safety.

    Being undocumented is not enough for ICE or Homeland Security to deport you, even if your lawsuit makes them aware of your situation. Keep in mind that the laws and regulations surrounding immigration and deportation are ever-changing and fluctuating. As such, you should always speak to your attorney before making significant decisions about your case.

    Call Our New York Personal Injury Lawyers to Privately Discuss Your Claims

    Call our Long Island personal injury lawyers at (718) 841-0083 to set up a free, confidential case assessment with our experienced legal professionals at The Carrion Law Firm.