Since the 1960s, the U.S. has been the top destination for international migrants. As of 2017, one-fifth of the world’s migrants are in the U.S. and in 2016, immigrants account for 17 percent of the US civilian labor force.
However, the population of unauthorized or undocumented immigrants is also quite large. In a report by the Migration Policy Institute, the unauthorized population doubled in the 1990s. It reached its peak in 2007, then fell during the recession. As of 2014, there is an estimated 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States.
Does the status of an immigrant affect his right in filing damages and claims after a car accident?
The answer is no. The law guarantees everyone due process, regardless of their immigration status. This means documented as well as undocumented immigrants may file charges and claims if they are injured from a car crash or accident. Everyone has the right to receive medical treatment, and it is important that the victims receive their compensation. Passengers in vehicles who sustain injuries in a car crash have every right to get compensation for their injuries and lost wages.
When reporting the accident to the insurance company, however, the company may use this against the undocumented immigrant. Since the immigrant is undocumented and has no social security number, they could claim that they cannot provide compensation. This is a violation of the victim’s legal rights. An undocumented victim should seek legal assistance immediately if the insurance company denies him his benefits.
Will there be a problem if the undocumented immigrant is driving the other car?
Another issue which can be brought to light is if the undocumented immigrant is driving the vehicle. It will now be questioned if he or she has a driver’s license and a car insurance. Although there are states that allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license, a majority do not. To get a car insurance, a valid driver’s license must be presented. Depending on where you live, driving without insurance can be penalized at $1000 or more.
However, if the other party who caused the injury has his or her own car insurance, it should not matter. The victim is still entitled for compensation for the injuries sustained in the accident.
What should immigrants do if they get involved in a car accident?
What you should do after you get involved in a car accident is basically the same as what everyone should do.
- Call an ambulance if someone is hurt or injured.
- Call the police for an official police report.
- Obtain information from the other party.
- Take photos of the vehicle damage.
- Take photos of all physical injuries.
- Unless you are seriously injured and must be taken to the hospital, do not leave the accident scene before matters are settled.
Seek legal assistance immediately
If you or a member of your family, documented or undocumented, is involved in a car accident, call a lawyer immediately. The other party and the insurance company may use your status against you. An experienced and seasoned lawyer will help you fight for your right to make a claim for just compensation.