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Can an Illegal Alien File a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?

Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss the Legal Rights of Injured Illegal Aliens

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that about 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants currently live across the United States. Many believe this figure is far higher.  There are a number of reasons people enter or remain in the country illegally, including our difficult and lengthy legalization process.  Illegal aliens are not afforded all the same protections as legal citizens, but they are entitled to some legal rights.  When an illegal alien is injured due to the negligence of another in Florida, they can file a personal injury claim with the assistance of a personal injury lawyer, but their legal rights are not the same as legal citizens.

The Rights of Injured Illegal Aliens

Illegal aliens face all of the same potential dangers as anyone else, and when they are hurt due to negligence, they have the right to seek compensation in the state of Florida.  A Miami personal injury attorney can assist an injured illegal alien in making claims for damages.  In Florida, a jury will not hear about the illegal alien’s status so long as they are only making a claim for:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Property losses;
  • Funeral expenses;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Disability;
  • Mental anguish;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Punitive damages.

However, if the illegal immigrant makes a claim for lost future earnings, the jury will have the right to hear about the injured plaintiff’s immigrant status. The seminal Florida case that set this standard is entitled Villasenor v. Martinez, 991 So.2d 433 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008). In this case, Martinez broadsided a vehicle in which Villasenor was a passenger. Villasenor was ejected from the car and sued for damages resulting from her injuries.  Villasenor was from Mexico.  The court held that if the plaintiff makes a claim for future lost earnings, the jury can hear about his or her illegal status. Villasenor’s status is relevant, the court reasoned, to her ability to obtain lawful employment.  Accordingly, Villasenor’s status would be used in calculating the wage rate at which projected future earnings should be based if she prevails on her claim.

Even further, an Orlando federal court ruled that an illegal immigrant in a wrongful death case could not bring a claim for lost wages whatsoever because it would violate the United State’s immigration laws. The case is entitled Veliz v. Rental Service Corporation, USA, Inc. (313 F. Supp. 2d 1317 [2003]).

Get Help for Your Personal Injury Claim

Illegal aliens may face some special obstacles in pursuing personal injury related damages. Those injured immigrants who will bring a future lost wages claim could experience discrimination or challenges obtaining the damages they deserve due to their immigration status.  Any illegal immigrant who has been injured in an accident should contact a Miami personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.  Your attorney can carefully walk you through the claims process, fighting for your maximum recovery every step of the way.

Contact the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation!

If you have suffered injuries due to the negligence of another, contact the Miami Personal Injury Lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano as soon as possible. Our compassionate attorneys understand that it can be daunting to file a personal injury action, especially if you are not living in the U.S. legally.  Our firm can assist you in seeking the damages you are owed, regardless of your immigration status.  At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, we bring over 130 years of combined professional experience to your case. We have received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and have been named a Top South Florida Law Firm by the Miami Herald.  Call us today at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to schedule your free consultation.  You can also contact us online.

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