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Can undocumented immigrants file injury claims in New York?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2023 | Injuries

People get hurt all the time in New York, and sometimes the situation that causes their injury is truly an accident. The situation doesn’t involve fault on the part of another person or a business but is, instead, an unusual situation that culminated in someone getting hurt. Such accidents aren’t legally actionable because there is no one to blame.

Other times, it is very obvious that a business or a specific person directly caused the injury that someone experienced. New York law empowers people to pursue personal injury lawsuits when they get hurt because of the negligent or intentional actions or inactions of others. There are rules about when such lawsuits are possible and who has the right to file them. Some people feel disempowered and may assume they do not have the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit even after a serious injury because of their immigration status.

Immigration status shouldn’t affect personal injury claims

New York courts have repeatedly allowed successful personal injury claims brought by those who are in the country without the mandated documentation. Whether or not the person injured by another party has followed proper immigration procedures does not influence fault for the incident and the other party’s culpability. The one exception would likely involve a worker hoping to sue their employer over an injury on the job. With the exception of cases involving gross negligence or illegal activity by the company, a lawsuit usually isn’t an option for an injury on a job because of the rules related to workers’ compensation.

However, it is not someone’s immigration status but rather the cause of their injuries that affects their option to pursue a lawsuit. Those hurt by a third-party business or another person can typically file a lawsuit regardless of their immigration status.

People need to understand their rights to use them effectively

Businesses and also manipulative people trying to avoid responsibility for their bad behavior may try to confuse others about their rights under the law in New York. People may need to discuss the situation that led to their injury if they believe they may need to file a lawsuit to recover medical expenses and lost wages.

Seeking legal guidance and learning more about New York personal injury claims can benefit those who have been hurt due to the misconduct or bad choices of others, regardless of whether victims are undocumented or not.