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Can Filing a Herndon Personal Injury Claim Trigger Deportation?

 Posted on July 02,2024 in Uncategorized

Herndon, VA immigration lawyerThe question of whether an undocumented immigrant can file a personal injury claim has never been addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Different states have reached different conclusions regarding this issue. When deciding whether undocumented immigrants have the same protections as legal immigrants, the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled in the affirmative. The Commonwealth of Virginia does not allow immigration status to be brought up during a personal injury claim.

This means undocumented immigrants have the same right to recover damages following an accident caused by a negligent party as legal immigrants. This includes medical expenses, pain and suffering, and even lost wages. Unfortunately, the issue is not always this straightforward. You must speak to an experienced Herndon immigration lawyer before filing a personal injury claim to ensure your rights are protected.

Do Non-Citizens Have a Right to Sue?

Non-citizens – whether they are undocumented immigrants, temporary workers, or hold another type of visa – do have the right to sue following an accident caused by the negligence of another. The United States Constitution protects this right by guaranteeing equal protection to every person within its jurisdiction, including non-citizens.

Although the right to sue is established, the actual process is much murkier. Your immigration status should not affect your right to file a personal injury claim, yet the "should not" part of that sentence calls for caution.  A single misstep could potentially affect immigration status, making it essential to have a knowledgeable immigration attorney by your side.

Could You Be Deported for Filing a Personal Injury Claim?

Non-citizens may struggle with additional challenges when considering filing a personal injury claim. Fear is one of the primary roadblocks—fear of deportation, fear of retaliation, or fear of drawing attention to immigration status. This fear prevents many undocumented immigrants from pursuing a personal injury claim, even when negligence by the defendant is clear. And, while filing a personal injury claim should not lead to deportation, the "should not" phrase makes the situation both frightening and complex.

The defense in your personal injury case could attempt to use your immigration status against you. For example, the defense may claim your future earning capacity is lower because of your immigration status, or that your claim for lost wages should be based on the rates in your country of origin. You may even be approached by the defense who will use intimidation tactics to convince you to accept a low settlement—or drop the personal injury claim altogether.  

Protecting Your Immigration Status When Filing a Personal Injury Claim

If you fear deportation for filing a personal injury claim, this fear is real and understandable. Although it is illegal for insurance companies or employers to report you to immigration in retaliation for filing a personal injury claim, there is no ironclad guarantee they will not. You must always be truthful regarding your immigration status if asked about it during legal proceedings. If you are caught lying under oath, you could face not only deportation but also criminal charges.

Virginia law upholds the principle that an individual injured by the negligence of another has the right to seek compensation regardless of his or her immigration status, yet potential risks remain. Having a highly skilled Vienna immigration attorney who can successfully counter any strategies by the defense to bring your immigration status into the process is essential.   

Contact a Fairfax County, VA Immigration Attorney

If you are an undocumented immigrant who has been injured as a result of another person’s negligence, you must speak to a knowledgeable Herndon, VA immigration attorney from The Law Firm of Ruiz Dougherty, PLLC. Our firm is a supportive, full-service law firm with more than two decades of experience. We have both English and Spanish-speaking staff and offer a free consultation to answer all your questions.

Our firm has extensive experience handling cases involving individuals needing documentation assistance and can advise you on the best way to proceed with your personal injury claim. Contact The Law Firm of Ruiz Dougherty, PLLC at 571-441-2233 to ensure that asserting your right to file a personal injury claim does not affect your immigration status.

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