If you live in California, the answer to this question is yes. You can file a personal injury claim for injuries suffered in any kind of accident. Your immigration status has nothing to do with your right to sue those responsible. In addition, if you are the next of kin of someone who was killed in an accident, you too have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit regardless of your immigration status or that of the deceased.

If you find yourself in either of these situations, The Dominguez Firm offers free and completely confidential consultations at (800)818-1818. Don’t delay, call us right away.

I’m an Undocumented Immigrant. Do I Face Deportation if I File a Personal Injury Claim?

You cannot be deported if you file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. In 2016 Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2159 into law. Thanks to this law, undocumented immigrants are protected if they sue for accident injuries. Among the other new rights undocumented immigrants have are:

  • Defense attorneys can’t bring up your immigration status or use it against you at any point during your personal injury case.
  • Neither defense attorneys nor the defendant can investigate your legal status in any way.
  • Any financial compensation you’re awarded must be calculated according to what your income and expenses are and would be in the U.S., not in your country of origin.

To summarize, you can’t be deported or suffer any other negative actions if you file a personal injury or wrongful death claim in California. Anyone who tells you the opposite is trying to intimidate you into not going forward with your case.

What Damages Can an Undocumented Immigrant Receive for Their Personal Injury Claim?

In California, an undocumented immigrant who has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence may be entitled to recover a variety of damages (the legal term for financial compensation) in a personal injury claim. They would be entitled to the exact same damages as a documented immigrant or U.S. citizen. The types of damages that may be available include:

  • Medical expenses: This includes the cost of any medical treatment, such as emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, and physical therapy.
  • Pain and suffering: This includes compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by the injuries. This falls under the category of non-economic damages, which are meant to compensate you for the emotional toll your accident injury has had on you.
  • Lost wages: If the individual is not authorized to work in the United States, recovering lost wages may be more difficult due to a lack of evidence such as W2 forms. However, an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to secure some compensation in this category by showing an estimate of what the person’s future income would be.
  • Property damage: If the individual’s property was damaged in the accident, they may be able to recover the cost of repairs or replacement.
  • Punitive damages: Although rarely awarded, punitive damages can be granted if the defendant’s actions were particularly malicious. This is done more to punish the defendant and make them an example than to compensate the victim. As an example, if you are seriously injured while crossing the street as a pedestrian because the driver had a fit of road rage, you would likely be awarded punitive damages.

Note that California does not place a limit on the compensation you can receive for non-economic damages. For this reason, it usually makes up the largest part of a person’s final compensation.

Can Undocumented Immigrants File for Disability in California?

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal disability benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as these programs are only available to U.S. citizens and certain categories of non-citizens who are legally present in the United States. 

In California on the other hand, undocumented immigrants can file for disability benefits. It’s important to consult with an attorney who is familiar with California and local laws on this matter, to know more about the options that may be available.

Do I Need to Tell My Attorney That I’m Undocumented?

Yes, please let your attorney know about your immigration status. Again, you are safe from deportation or any other negative actions. Also, personal injury lawyers are bound by client-attorney confidentiality. This means they cannot reveal your immigration status to anyone, including government authorities. Our staff is also covered by this confidentiality. They won’t nor can they be required to reveal your information either.

Never keep information from your attorney. The only way they can present the best case possible for you is if they are aware of everything related to you and your case including your status.

How Do I Pay The Dominguez Firm?

The Dominguez Firm works on a contingency basis. That simply means we’re paid a percentage of your final compensation. You don’t have to worry about any out-of-pocket expenses whatsoever for the duration of your case. That means no legal fees, retainers or surprise bills at any time. 

The percentage we receive from you will be clearly stated in the representation agreement you sign when you become our client. Plus, it won’t change according to the amount we win for you. And in the highly unlikely event we don’t secure any compensation for you, you owe us nothing. In other words, if there is no recovery, there is no fee! You can and should hire the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Dominguez Firm. Not doing so can cost you dearly.

Call the Personal Injury Lawyers at The Dominguez Firm

The Dominguez Firm always offers free consultations at (800)818-1818. We can travel to your home or hospital at a moment’s notice. Don’t let your immigration status stop you from taking legal action against those who caused your injuries or the untimely loss of a loved one. We are a full-service law firm with the experience and record of success to represent you. Our award-winning personal injury lawyers are backed by a fully bilingual legal staff of over 130 professionals. You have legal rights and we can help so call us today!

My experience was good. They made sure to kept me in the loop and made sure to let me know what was going on the whole time. My mom has used other attorneys and this experience was beyond better. I would definitely recommend them!

— Ashley Magana

The attorneys were always available and answered my questions. I would recommend them to anyone. Zoe is the best!

— Janet Salazar

My experience with The Dominguez Firm and the attorneys was really good. They were very informative and always returned my calls.

— Jocelyn Gonzalez