Can Undocumented Immigrants File a Personal Injury Claim in California?

Abogados De Acero helps injury victims in California. As an undocumented immigrant, the challenges you face every day can be overwhelming, and it makes it even tougher if you get hurt in an accident. Our team of California personal injury lawyers can help by explaining your rights and making things easier. Contact us today for a free consultation.

When Do You Need a Lawyer?

Your immigration status generally doesn’t affect your rights if you’re injured in California. This means that, even if you’re undocumented, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in California.

But whether or not you actually need a lawyer or even need to file a lawsuit depends on your situation. If your accident is minor, you probably don’t need to worry about taking legal action. However, the more hurt you are, the more help you’ll need. That’s when you probably need a lawyer, and our team can help you by:

  • Communicating with insurance companies
  • Investigating accidents and collecting evidence
  • Organizing medical records and bills
  • Coordinating with medical providers
  • Consulting medical experts
  • Negotiating with lien holders to reduce your debt
  • Settling with insurance adjusters or defense attorneys
  • Supporting your claim throughout the legal process
  • Representing you in court if necessary

 

Our main goal is to make the claims process easier for you. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means there’s no upfront cost to you for our services. Still, it’s important to understand how the process works.

What’s the Claims Process After an Accident?

In California, the process of filing an injury claim plays out in one of two ways: filing an insurance claim out of court or filing a personal injury lawsuit inside the court system. These are available to anyone under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, regardless of their immigration status.

But which way you want to file your claim is totally up to you. Here’s a quick overview of the two processes:

  • Insurance claim – This can be suitable for smaller claims or those likely to settle quickly. It’s totally controlled by the insurance company and is typically much less formal.
  • Lawsuit – A lawsuit is a formal legal action, and takes more time and effort. They typically involve long periods of negotiation, litigation, mediation, and trial. The discovery process begins once a lawsuit is filed, which can be intricate and time-consuming. Delays can occur if either side objects to requests for information. If the case goes to trial, it can be lengthy and costly with unpredictable outcomes.

Regardless of which option you choose, we’ll keep you informed and work towards the best possible outcome.

What Damages Can You Get in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The main point of the claims process is to recover damages from the person or entity that caused the accident and your injuries. This is known as liability. Usually, this falls on the person that hit you in a car accident or a property owner that didn’t protect your safety, such as when you slip and fall at a store.

The goal of a California personal injury claim is to recover what you lost due to the accident, which may include things like:

  • Medical expenses – This covers any costs related to your doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, surgeries, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost income – This covers any wages or income lost due to the injury.
  • Property damage – These damages are for repair or replacement costs of damaged property, like your car or vehicle.
  • Pain and suffering – This covers costs related to the physical or mental pain you go through because of the accident.
  • Emotional distress – Similarly, these damages cover any emotional distress from the accident, like anxiety, depression, or trauma.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life or companionship – These damages give you financial support if your injury negatively impacted your enjoyment of life or relationships.

The amount of damages you can get depends on your case and how well you present it. While you can handle your claim alone, our firm has the right experience to help you. Insurance adjusters aim to minimize payouts, so there are a few things you need to do after the accident to protect your claim.

How Can You Protect Your Injury Claim?

The immediate aftermath of an accident is critical for protecting your claim for damages. The steps you take can significantly affect how the insurance company handles your case. Follow these important steps:

  • Call 911 for medical help – Your health should be taken care of first. Move to a safe location and seek medical attention by calling 911, even if you don’t feel injured immediately. A medical record of your injuries is crucial evidence for your claim.

 

  • Contact the police or other authorities – Report the accident to the police or the relevant person (like the homeowner or store manager.) An official accident report can support your claim. It also alerts those in charge about the issue.

 

  • Gather evidence and information – Exchange contact and insurance details with the other party. If possible, collect witness information and any photos or videos of the incident. Keep your own detailed notes.
  • Be careful – You also need to be careful when talking to insurance reps or lawyers without consulting us first. They’ll try to twist your story to devalue your claim. Also, don’t post about the accident on social media. Anything you say or do can be used as evidence.

Remember, your health is always the first priority. That said, these steps will apply after any type of accident that can lead to a lawsuit, like:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Product or premises liability
  • Slip and falls
  • Workplace accidents

Contact Abogados De Acero After a California Accident

As an immigrant, you work hard to provide a better life for yourself and your loved ones. Regardless of your citizenship status, California law protects your rights after an accident. At Abogados De Acero, our dedicated personal injury lawyers will work tirelessly to make sure you receive the treatment and legal support you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation if you’re an undocumented immigrant that’s been injured in an accident.

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