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Can an undocumented immigrant recover medical damages after a car accident?

Oakland, CA |

An undocumented immigrant was involved in a car accident. The other person caused the accident, and his insurance has accepted liability. Now the insurance company is asking for the injured person's social security number for medicare purposes. Can the immigrant still recover damages for their medical care from the other insurance company even if they don't have a social security number?

Attorney Answers 12

  1. The short answer is yes. The legal status of the plaintiff does not affect that person's right to be compensated for personal injuries. He/she is entitled to non-economic damages and economic damages which would include past and future medical expenses.

    Minh T. Nguyen, Esq.
    111 West Ocean Boulevard, 19th Floor
    Long Beach, California 90802-4622
    (562) 283-5415 ❖ (562) 283-5416 fax❖ (855) NGUYEN-L[AW]

    This is a legal disclaimer that my advice here are for general purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Further, my advice is based upon the limited information and facts that have been provided. Additional facts and/or circumstances may materially change or affect the advice that I would provide. Finally, I have not agreed to represent you and anyone else who may read my response. (Sorry for this legal disclaimer, but it is important for your protection and mine. You do not want to think that I am representing you when I have not agreed to do so. In order for me to act as your attorney, we would need to execute a retainer agreement setting for the terms of the relationship.) Thank you for your understanding.

  2. The answer to your question is yes. In fact, there is a form that the insurance company can provide to the claimant which has a box on the first page that the claimant can check-off indicating that he/she is not and has not received Medicare benefits. Then, on the second page of this form, there is a place for the claimant to sign stating that he/she declines to give their social security number. With all of that said, though, this individual should really consider consulting with a local attorney before dealing any further with the insurance carrier.

    This attorney is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ and thus this answer is for informational and educational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal advice. Since all facts are not addressed in the question, this answer could change depending on other significant and important facts. This answer in no way constitutes an attorney-client relationship.

  3. This is not an immigration question. It is very state specific.

    NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS; email:; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

  4. Not an immigration law question.

    Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.

  5. Yes they can. Immigration status will not affect recovery of special and general damages, but may affect recovery of future loss of earnings if there is such claim. In that case loss of future earnings cannot be calculated/projected based on US earnings. In other words, if injured party cannot demonstrate that he or she is legally allowed to work for compensation in the United States, he or she will not be entitled to future earnings based on U.S. wages.

    Jasmine Gevorkyan

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.

  6. In most cases, status is not relevant to whether they suffered injuries or damage as a result of the negligence of another automobile driver. Most insurance companies require social security numbers to do checks on claimants and to verify with medicare. Unless the injury claimant provides this, there may be an issue with settlement of the injury claim. Call a local accident attorney for legal help.

    24 Hour Attorney Call Center (314) 361-4242 or visit us on the Web at

  7. Almost every court will exclude from evidence the fact a person is undocumented. You should hire an attorney to represent you and work through these issues. It should be handled the same way as if you were a tourist from Canada who also does not have an United States SS#.

    This response does not create a lawyer client relationship. Each case is determined on its specific facts and this reply is intended for a general audience and facts particular to your case may affect the answer. Consult with an attorney in person for specific answers to your questions.

  8. Yes, they can still collect money for general damages (such as pain and suffering), however some types may be limited or unavailable to them as a result of legal status. Have this person speak with an attorney right away to guide them through the process.

    For more personal injury information visit us at

    The information provided here is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. Bergener & Associates, PLC is a personal injury practice serving accident victims and their families in the State of California only. No individuals should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any answers to questions without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice from an attorney licensed in their state. Transmission of information via this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between any attorney at Bergener & Associates and any recipient, nor is it intended to do so. The content provided does not create any warranty, express or implied. Hiring a lawyer to represent you is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

  9. Yes, you can!

    DISCLAIMER: The information gathered from this website, Tryk Law or Benjamin P. Tryk is not legal advice. If you are in search of legal advice, you should consult with an attorney about your specific situation. Communicating with Tryk Law, Accident Injury Attorneys through the use of this website does not establish an attorney/client relationship. You should not disclose any information that you consider confidential until an attorney/client relationship has been created.

  10. Car accident injury damages are separate into two groups - Economic Damages and Non-economic Damages. Your question specifically asks about "medical damages" which most attorneys associate with medical bills. The cost of reasonable treatment necessitated by injuries from a car accident is an Economic Damage. Almost always, Economic Damages are recoverable even in Prop 213 claims (such as where the victim was without auto liability insurance). So, if you meant 'Can the undocumented victim recover the cost of medical treatment, then the answer is yes. If you meant, can this victim also recovery Non-economic Damages for 'pain & suffering' then the answer is still yes but the analysis is different. The victim is only asking for the same treatment provided to the community's citizens as allowed by that community's court. If a US tourist went to France and was hit by a motorcar while crossing the street there, the US tourist could not bring the action back to the US. However, shouldn't that tourist at least get the same fair treatment in France that the French provide in their community? Of course. As a result, the undocumented immigrant has the same rights afforded to citizens in the community where the accident happened. For this reason, citizenship is irrelevant to the issue of recovery and why this issue is commonly suppressed by the court at the time of trial. Yet, since federal law mandates that MediCare obtains a reimbursement from car accident claims for any treatment costs paid by MediCare, compliance with this law makes the social security number and citizenship relevant to how a claim's settlement is processed.

    Learn more at our blog, linked below.

    This response is not meant as legal advice or as a legal opinion. Such advice would be impossible or impractical without additional information and more facts giving rise to the question. A consultation with an attorney is necessary.

  11. Yes. Citizenship and residency status is not relevant to any material issue of fact in the lawsuit. Your attorney should be able to successfully exclude any mention of this at trial, if necessary. Good luck!

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