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legal rights of immigrantsAnyone can suffer injuries in an accident. If you get hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. This right applies to anyone who gets hurt in an accident in North Carolina, regardless of their immigration status.

If you’re an undocumented immigrant in North Carolina, you might still have concerns about your legal rights. And understandably, you likely want some additional assurance before you feel comfortable filing a claim.

The dedicated Raleigh personal injury attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., understand the challenges you are facing but want to reassure you during this difficult time. We are proud to represent our injured neighbors regardless of their immigration status and have been doing so for many years. Our experienced legal team has the knowledge and resources necessary to help you navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation you deserve. We offer compassionate, personalized attention to each client, and our staff members can answer your questions in English or Spanish.

Contact us now for a free and confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help you. You won’t owe us a fee unless we secure you compensation. We will always treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve.

The Role of Immigration Status in a Personal Injury Case

No laws specifically bar non-U.S. citizens, documented or undocumented, from filing personal injury claims. Anyone who suffers preventable injuries in North Carolina has the same right to pursue compensation for their losses.

The United States Supreme Court has determined that the Constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses protect all individuals in the United States, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. That means documented and undocumented immigrants have a legal right to file insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits in the U.S.

While the law does not bar you from seeking compensation as an immigrant, you might still have concerns about the consequences of taking legal action in a public court. For example, you might worry that the other side’s attorneys could undermine your case or put your freedom at risk by investigating your immigration status. However, in North Carolina, it is unethical and improper to use someone’s immigration status as evidence against them in a civil case, such as a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced injury attorney can take steps to bar evidence of your immigration status from admission to the court through a process known as “motion in limine.”

Furthermore, most personal injury claims never make it to trial at all. Instead, injured individuals usually get compensation from out-of-court settlements with the at-fault party’s insurance company. These negotiations happen outside the judicial system, so there’s generally less cause for concern when it comes to immigration status. Nevertheless, working with the dedicated legal team at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., can give you the assurances you need to feel comfortable seeking the compensation you deserve regardless of immigration status.

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What Damages Are Available to Undocumented Immigrants?

If you suffer serious, preventable injuries as an undocumented immigrant in North Carolina, you have a right to the same types and amounts of compensation as any other individual. Depending on the circumstances, you could be eligible to recover:

While your immigration status does not influence your right to compensation, your lawyer might exercise caution when it comes to certain aspects of your case. For example, when calculating lost income, your legal right to work in the United States could come into question. As such, you should have a frank discussion with your attorney about how long you expect to be in the U.S. This will help you determine how much money you can reasonably expect to claim for present and future wages you might lose due to your injuries.

Speak with our experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers today to learn more about what kinds of compensation could be available in your case.

What Happens If You Don’t File a Claim for a Personal Injury?

If you are living in North Carolina without legal documentation, you might question whether filing an injury claim is truly worth the risks. But it is important to consider that failing to seek the compensation you deserve could be even riskier. You could face overwhelming financial stress if you don’t get the money to cover your losses from a personal injury claim.

Regardless of immigration status, some people decide against filing claims because they believe their injuries are too minor to warrant the hassle. But some injuries that initially appear insignificant become progressively more debilitating as time goes on. A big part of filing an injury claim involves getting a professional medical assessment of your injuries and how they will progress. Once you have a clear idea of the medical costs you will likely incur in the future, you can seek fair compensation and avoid having to pay out of pocket for injuries that were not your fault.

If you do not file an injury claim, you could end up spending thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars of your own money on future medical care. This is not a consequence you should have to face if someone else was responsible for your injuries.

Moreover, failing to act quickly could jeopardize your right to file a lawsuit. North Carolina law requires you to file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the date of the accident. Once this deadline passes, you lose the right to hold the at-fault party accountable for your losses.

Potential Problems When Filing Personal Injury Claims

One of the biggest challenges for many undocumented immigrants with accident injury claims is that they might not have a driver’s licenses or auto insurance policies. Driving without a license or insurance is illegal, and this fact deters many undocumented drivers from pursuing valid injury claims after car accidents. However, you do not need a driver’s license or an insurance policy to file an injury claim against a negligent motorist.

Insurers can’t refuse to handle claims because of your immigration status. Insurance companies might deny a claim for someone who was committing a felony at the time of an accident, but driving without a license is a misdemeanor, so insurers should not deny your claim in such a situation.

Can I Be Deported If I File a Car Accident Claim?

No. Attempting to deport an undocumented immigrant because they have filed an injury claim constitutes obstruction of justice. As such, authorities such as the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) generally avoid initiating deportation actions against immigrants who file accident injury claims. Additionally, there is no system that gives immigration authorities access to your immigration status or location when you file an injury claim or lawsuit.

Should Undocumented Immigrants Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?

Yes. If you suffer injuries in a preventable accident as an undocumented immigrant in Raleigh or surrounding areas of North Carolina, you have the right to legal counsel and representation just like everybody else. Life after an accident can be overwhelming. It’s normal to feel confused about how to file a claim for compensation, especially when you have concerns about your immigration status and your ability to communicate in English.

Our experienced, Spanish-speaking personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the claims process with confidence. You need not fear legal repercussions for seeking the compensation you deserve. Working with our compassionate, qualified attorneys is the best way to protect your rights and interests after an unexpected injury.

Our skilled lawyers can:

  • Investigate the accident to find out what caused your injuries
  • Determine who is at fault
  • Calculate the total value of your losses
  • Negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement
  • Pursue a lawsuit in court against the at-fault party if necessary

Having a knowledgeable attorney take care of these tasks on your behalf will give you the time and energy you need to focus on your recovery.

Younce Vtipil Baznik & Banks personal injury law team

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys in Raleigh, NC

Everyone has rights in this country, regardless of immigration status. Among those is the right to seek compensation for losses someone else caused. When it comes to choosing an attorney who can stand up for your rights, don’t settle for just anyone.

At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our legal team has the resources, knowledge, experience, and courage to fight for the money and justice you deserve. Our firm’s attorneys are skilled negotiators with a strong track record of favorable results for our documented and undocumented clients. We are also fully capable of arguing your case before a judge or jury if necessary.

We are committed to giving you the individualized attention you deserve. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us for a free and confidential initial case evaluation in English or Spanish.

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