Legal Protection for You & Your Future With Over 30 Years of Experience SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

How Immigration Status Affects Your Personal Injury

David Lee Sellers, PA June 12, 2024

Injured women with attorneyYour immigration status can significantly impact a personal injury claim. Attorney David Lee Sellers has important information that will help you protect your legal rights. 

Here are some things legal immigrants should know before filing a personal injury claim: 

Legal Rights of Immigrants 

Many immigrants believe that their immigration status might prevent them from filing a personal injury claim. However, in the United States, everyone has the right to seek compensation for injuries, regardless of their immigration status. This includes undocumented immigrants. This protection ensures that all individuals have access to justice and can hold those responsible for their injuries accountable. 

Common Concerns 

1. Fear of Deportation 

A major concern for undocumented immigrants is the fear of deportation. While it is natural to be concerned, it's important to understand that personal injury lawyers are obligated to maintain confidentiality. They cannot disclose your immigration status to authorities. Your focus should be on getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries. 

2. Impact on Compensation Amount 

While immigration status does not bar you from filing a claim, it can affect the amount of compensation you receive.  

For example, if you are undocumented, you may face challenges in recovering lost wages, especially if you do not have formal employment records. However, a skilled personal injury lawyer can help build a strong case to maximize your compensation. 

3. Medical Treatment 

Access to medical treatment is another concern for immigrants, particularly those who are undocumented. It's essential to seek medical attention immediately after an injury.  

Delaying treatment can worsen your condition and negatively impact your claim. Many personal injury lawyers, including David Lee Sellers, work with medical professionals who can provide the necessary care and support. 

Importance of Legal Representation 

Regardless of your immigration status, securing competent legal representation is crucial in navigating a personal injury claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the legal process, help gather necessary documentation, and ensure that your rights are protected. They have a deep understanding of personal injury law and can advocate on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome. 

Language Barriers 

Another challenge immigrant claimants may face involves language barriers. Communicating effectively with medical professionals, insurance companies, and legal representatives is vital for a successful claim. 

Many law firms are equipped with multilingual staff or offer translation services to ensure that language does not impede access to justice. 

Knowing Your Rights 

It's also essential for immigrants to understand their rights within the U.S. legal system. Regardless of your status, you have the right to be treated with respect and fairness.  

Community organizations provide valuable information on immigrants' rights, helping individuals to pursue their claims confidently. 

Emotional Support and Community Resources 

Dealing with the aftermath of an injury can be emotionally taxing, especially for immigrants far from their support systems. Many organizations provide resources such as counseling services, support groups, and community assistance programs.  

These resources can offer much-needed emotional support and practical help during the recovery process. Taking advantage of these services can improve your overall well-being and bolster your ability to navigate your personal injury claim successfully. 

Personal Injury Laws in Florida

A good understanding of personal injury laws in Florida can help immigrants strengthen their case. 

Florida's Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Florida operates under a no-fault insurance system, meaning that your insurance company will cover your medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This is known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). All drivers in Florida are required to carry PIP insurance. 

Comparative Negligence Rule 

Florida follows a comparative negligence rule, which means that if you are partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if you are found to be 20% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 20%. 

Statute of Limitations 

In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is four years from the date of the accident. You must file your claim within this timeframe to avoid losing your right to seek compensation. 

Duty to Mitigate Damages 

In Florida, injured parties have a legal obligation to mitigate their damages. This means taking reasonable steps to minimize the impact of their injuries, such as seeking timely medical treatment and following doctors' recommendations. Failing to do so could reduce the compensation awarded for the injury. 

Caps on Damages 

Florida law imposes caps on certain types of damages in personal injury cases. For instance, non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are often subject to limitations in medical malpractice cases. These caps can affect the total compensation you may be eligible to receive. 

Punitive Damages 

Punitive damages, which are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct, are available in Florida personal injury cases but are relatively rare. To be awarded punitive damages, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant's conduct was particularly outrageous or malicious. 

Sovereign Immunity 

In Florida, the concept of sovereign immunity can affect personal injury claims against governmental entities. This legal doctrine limits the amount of damages that can be recovered from government bodies and may impose stricter procedural requirements. Typically, claims against state agencies or municipalities are capped at $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident. 

Pre-suit Requirements for Medical Malpractice Claims

For those filing medical malpractice claims, Florida law requires that claimants fulfill specific pre-suit requirements.  

This includes investigating the viability of the claim and notifying the healthcare provider of the impending lawsuit. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in the dismissal of the claim. 

Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Pensacola, Florida

When dealing with a personal injury claim as an immigrant, having a skilled and compassionate lawyer on your side can make all the difference. David Lee Sellers, rated as an excellent lawyer (BV Rating) by Martindale-Hubbell, can provide you with trustworthy legal representation.  

As a former Assistant State Attorney, he has a deep understanding of the legal system and an extensive network of professionals to ensure a thorough and well-prepared case.  

If you are an immigrant who has suffered a personal injury, consider reaching out to David Lee Sellers, PA to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward securing the compensation you deserve.