Written by attorney Rostyslav Saciuk

Automobile Accidents involving Undocumented Aliens

Automobile Accidents involving Undocumented Aliens

There is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty concerning undocumented aliens and their rights when they are involved in an accident and injured. Many undocumented individuals mistakenly believe that because of their undocumented status that they either have no rights or have limited rights when they are involved in an automobile accident. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Regardless of your immigration status, when you are injured in an automobile accident you have rights and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Regardless of whether you are the driver or a passenger, if you find yourself to be a victim of an accident that you did not cause, then you have the right to be compensated for your injuries. Working with your lawyer, you will file a claim against the person at fault for the damage caused to your car, your medical bills, your lost work earnings, as well as your pain and suffering. Generally, this is done by making a claim against the insurance company of the person who caused the accident. If the other party denies that they are responsible or their insurance company does not want to pay for the harm caused to you, then you have a right to sue the other person in court, and have a jury decide how much you are owed.

Often, because of fear or misinformation, many undocumented individuals injured in accidents do not report the accident or seek medical help. This is the worst thing that you can do. First, the law requires that you remain at the scene of an accident and give a report to law enforcement officers. This is important because it creates a record of the accident, and often the police will establish who was at fault and put that into their report. If you decide to flee from the scene of the accident then you must understand that you could be charged with a criminal misdemeanor. If any person was injured in that same accident you could be charged with a felony, which carries the possibility of prison. In addition to the criminal consequences of fines and/or jail, you can also trigger immigration deportation proceedings against you, and/or jeopardize any petitions to become a resident or citizen.

Second, if you are hurt you need to seek medical help and get healthy. If you are in pain seek help immediately and go to the hospital. Even if you do not have health insurance go see a doctor. In the end, it will be the person who caused the accident who will be responsible for the cost of your medical bills. Likewise, when filing a claim against another person for your injuries, you need to be able to show that you are in fact injured. The best and most common way of doing so is through doctors’ reports. You can see, therefore, that obtaining the appropriate medical care for your injuries is important for both your health and your claim.

Third, contact a lawyer immediately. The person who caused the accident will have notified their insurance company and they will have started working on their defense against your claim. Do not speak with any person representing the other party or their insurance until you have spoken with your attorney. More likely than not, you will be advised not to speak to any one as it can seriously harm your case. Your lawyer will communicate with the other party for you and insure that your interests and rights are protected.

In summary, always remain at the accident scene and give a report. In the State of Illinois, the police will generally not inquire as to your immigration status. Always obtain medical treatment immediately if you are harmed and follow your doctor’s advice. And, always contact a lawyer to protect your rights and insure that you are compensated for you injuries.

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