If a visitor overstays his or her visa and gets into a car accident because of another person’s negligence, he or she can still file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. The laws are in place to protect people experiencing pain or distress from an incident, regardless of the victim’s legal status.
The Right to Take Legal Action
The right to take legal action against another individual or party is not limited to American citizens. The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution emphasizes that the laws of the U.S. protect everyone equally. Someone living, working, or visiting the country has the right to file a lawsuit against another individual, company, or party for injury sustained or damages owed. Even if this person has overstayed a visa, he or she has the right to take legal action when another person or party is liable for the harm caused.
Damages Available to Someone Who Has Overstayed A Visa
If someone who has overstayed a visa suffers serious injuries in a car accident, he or she will be eligible for the same damages as any other victim of an accident. These damages consist of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and distress, loss of earning potential, and property damage.
Effects of an Accident Claim on an Overstayed Visa
Many accident victims who have overstayed their visas are justifiably concerned that taking legal action will result in deportation. Consequently, they end up paying thousands of dollars in medical costs out of pocket that otherwise they wouldn’t have to pay. While it is difficult to say whether a personal injury lawsuit will ultimately expose the immigration status of an accident victim, there are a few things for victims to bear in mind.
Simply filing a personal injury lawsuit or accident claim does not affect a person’s immigration status. An accident victim doesn’t have to reveal his or her immigration status when reviewing a claim with an insurance firm or a legal representative of that insurance firm. Immigration officers are not automatically alerted when someone files a civil lawsuit.
Steps to Take after an Accident
An overstay who gets into a car accident due to another person’s negligence should report the accident rather than running away from the scene due to his or her immigration status. Here are steps to take after an accident.
- Making notes concerning what happened
- Taking pictures of the accident, including photos of other cars involved, their number plates, as well as their positions
- Taking the names and addresses of several witnesses
- Visiting a doctor to get the injuries checked and to obtain a comprehensive report of the injuries
- Not admitting liability or offering details of immigration status
Seeking Legal Help After a Car Accident
A foreign national who has overstayed the visa has the right to have his or her legal interests protected. A good way to protect his or her legal rights is to hire an immigration lawyer immediately after an accident. The lawyer will help the foreign national take legal action and get the compensation he or she deserves.