Will I Be Deported for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York?

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    Undocumented people often fear taking legal action or invoking legal rights because they do not want to risk being deported. If you are undocumented and lose a loved one, you still have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

    Whether you are visiting the U.S. or living here undocumented, you still have the right to file a lawsuit for injuries and losses, including losing a loved one. Although undocumented people are generally at risk of being deported, the government should not try to detain you and initiate deportation proceedings while you have a pending lawsuit. Unfortunately, many undocumented plaintiffs are threatened or intimidated by the defendant. It is not unusual for defendants to threaten to report plaintiffs to law enforcement if they do not drop the case. Your attorney can help you deal with the threats while remaining steadfast in your lawsuit. While it is possible you could be deported after the lawsuit is complete, this is unlikely unless certain factors are present.

    Schedule a free review of your claims by calling our New York wrongful death lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.

    Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim as an Undocumented Person in New York?

    Filing a lawsuit is considered a fundamental right in the United States. As such, everyone may file a lawsuit regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Even if you are undocumented, you can file a lawsuit for injuries, including wrongful death. If undocumented people were barred from filing lawsuits, negligent defendants could avoid liability simply by reporting plaintiffs to Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE).

    It does not matter if you are undocumented, the deceased person was undocumented, or both are undocumented. You can still sue for wrongful death. It is not unusual for the deceased person and the plaintiff bringing the lawsuit to be undocumented. Since New York law limits wrongful death claims to people related by blood or marriage in most cases, both people are often undocumented. However, it is possible that your spouse was a documented citizen while you were not, or vice versa.

    In New York, wrongful death cases usually have to be filed by the deceased person’s estate administrator or personal representative. Often, people designate an administrator or representative in their will, and the role tends to fall to an immediate family member. However, the administrator or representative might be anyone, including non-related friends, distant relatives, or lawyers.

    Many undocumented people do not have wills designating a personal representative or estate administrator. As such, our Queens wrongful death lawyers can help you get help from the courts. The court might appoint a representative to help you file the claim in these cases.

    Can I Be Deported if I File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?

    You should not face deportation because you file a wrongful death claim while undocumented. Legally speaking, undocumented people are always at risk of being deported, as the government can initiate deportation proceedings against anyone not lawfully present in the country. However, the fact that you file a wrongful death claim does not increase that risk or alert the authorities to your presence.

    Generally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not detain and deport people simply for being undocumented. Rather, the government focuses on deporting people who pose a threat to homeland security. Being undocumented should not be the sole reason you face deportation. If you are also charged with a crime or allegedly submitted falsified documentation to the government, the risk of deportation becomes more serious.

    Even if ICE or another law enforcement agency wants to take you into custody or begin deportation proceedings because you are undocumented, they usually refrain from doing so once a lawsuit is filed. Other government agencies and authorities cannot interfere with your fundamental right to file a lawsuit and be protected by the law. Doing so might be an obstruction of justice.

    By the same token, defendants cannot have you deported while your lawsuit against them is pending. This prevents people from injuring or taking advantage of undocumented people and simply reporting them to ICE or other agencies to avoid liability.

    How to Deal with Threats or Intimidation as an Undocumented Person Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in New York

    Undocumented people often face threats, intimidation, and exploitation from the people around them. Unfortunately, this sometimes extends to lawsuits filed by the undocumented person. Now faced with being held accountable for their negligence, the defendant might lash out and try to intimidate you into dropping the case. They often try to intimidate you long before you even file the case. It is important to remain strong and inform your attorney of any threats you might receive.

    As discussed earlier, you should not be deported simply for being undocumented. On top of that, government agencies like ICE usually refrain from initiating deportation proceedings when an undocumented person has a pending lawsuit. As such, any threats from the defendant or others to turn you over to ICE or other law enforcement groups are usually empty.

    The stakes tend to be high in wrongful death cases, and defendants often have to pay very large amounts of compensation to defendants. It is not so uncommon for defendants to lash out. If threats become violent or constitute harassment, we can get law enforcement involved. A restraining or protective order can be arranged if the defendant’s attempts to threaten or intimidate you get out of hand.

    Can I Be Deported After My Wrongful Death Lawsuit in New York is Complete?

    Although government agencies usually do not deport undocumented people with pending lawsuits or other legal claims in the works, the situation changes when legal proceedings are over. Many undocumented people are hesitant to file a wrongful death claim because they worry the case will alert ICE or other agencies to their presence, and they might be deported when the case is done. Rest assured, the government is unlikely to take much interest in you unless they believe you are a threat to national security or border security.

    Contact Our New York Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help

    Speak to our Brooklyn wrongful death attorneys about scheduling a free case evaluation with our team at The Carrion Law Firm by calling us at (718) 841-0083.