Many people suffer in silence after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. They struggle to pay medical bills, or even endure the injury without medical care. They could get fair compensation to cover their economic and non-economic damages with the help of a Spanish-speaking Atlanta personal injury lawyer. But they are afraid that their immigration status bars them from filing a personal injury lawsuit.
The reality is that the United States is one of the most diverse countries in the world, in terms of ethnic groups and minorities. So many people want to enjoy the American dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For some, there are some difficulties before they can obtain their visa or green card.
But being an undocumented immigrant does not mean that you do not have rights. It does not give anyone a free hand to cause you injuries through negligence and walk away with impunity. Even if you do not have a clear immigration status, you still have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The Immigration Status Is Irrelevant in Personal Injury Cases in Georgia
In our state, courts are instructed not only to deem the immigration status as irrelevant, but even as inadmissible. There are clear precedents set by the Supreme Court of Georgia, which your Atlanta personal injury lawyer will definitely refer to if necessary.
Two specific cases, Sandoval vs. State (1994) and Junior vs. State (2007), include court decisions that deem a party’s immigration status as inadmissible. This means that the jury was either not informed about this aspect or instructed to ignore it.
However, either the negligent party or their insurance company will try to intimidate you into not filing a claim or a lawsuit. They will count on two aspects:
- The fact that you do not know your rights
- Your fear of deportation.
An Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Knows How to Defend Your Rights
Whether you were hurt in a car accident, on someone’s property, or by a defective product, you have the right to receive financial compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
This is the essence of personal injury law everywhere in the United States. And nobody is above the law. Your immigration status does not have any relevance to the key aspects you must prove in a personal injury lawsuit:
- The other person owed you a duty of care.
- They breached their duty and caused your accident.
- You suffered injuries as a result of the accident.
- The injuries generated economic damages.
What really matters in a personal injury lawsuit is the following.
1. The Circumstances of the Accident
The jury must understand how the accident happened in order to assign the correct importance to each piece of evidence that will follow. At no point during the presentation will your lawyer discuss your immigration status.
And if the opposing counsel will try to allude to it, your lawyer will object and the judge most definitely will admit the objection.
2. The Preponderance of the Evidence
The winner in a personal injury lawsuit is the party that can convince the jury that their version of the events is more likely than the other party’s version. There is no need to bring evidence beyond any reasonable doubt, as it is required in a criminal case.
The type of evidence that wins your case is:
- The police report
- Photos and videos
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical report indicating the likely cause and the extent of your injuries.
There will be no reference made to the possibility that you do not have a valid visa or a green card. In fact, in car accident cases, for instance, a person can win a lawsuit even if they do not have a valid driver’s license. There will be criminal charges issued in this case, but they do not bar the person from seeking financial compensation in a personal injury lawsuit – which is a civil case.
3. The Proportion of Fault of Both Parties
The modified comparative negligence principle applicable in Georgia states that you must be less than 50% at fault in order to have the legal right to seek compensation. Also, the amount representing your percentage of fault will be deducted from your total damages.
Thus, the jury will need to know how much you were at fault in your case in order to determine the final value of the award. No other factor is relevant and admissible in this estimation – certainly not your immigration status.
4. The Deposition You Make Before the Jury
Depositions are a key element in a personal injury lawsuit. You may not have a lot of direct evidence, but your deposition can make a favorable impression on the jury. Likewise, a person with an otherwise solid case may lose sympathy (and money in the final award) due to their attitude on the witness stand.
Your Atlanta personal injury lawyer will prepare you for this important moment. They will also make sure that a sworn and certified Spanish-to-English interpreter is present in order to avoid any misunderstandings.
Will a Personal Injury Lawsuit Result in Your Deportation?
This is one of the most frequent questions we hear from potential clients during a free case review. The answer is no. The personal injury lawsuit is a civil case and your immigration status will not be mentioned.
Even if it is, the judge and jury will ignore the information and not act in any way based on it. Thus, you do not have to worry that the judge will report your immigration status to relevant authorities.
Even if the defendant tips the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) out of spite, the organization does not have the resources to pursue every such claim. Even if they do, they have to follow a clear procedure, which takes time.
Trust Our Spanish-Speaking Lawyers With Your Personal Injury Lawsuit!
At the Diaz & Gaeta law firm, we truly believe that no one is above the law. Likewise, no one is below the law. Even if you do not have a clear immigration status, this does not mean that you do not have a valid personal injury case.
Schedule a free case review with us as soon as possible after your accident. A Spanish-speaking injury lawyer in Atlanta will examine your case and help you file a personal injury lawsuit if there are no other ways to settle your claim.
Call us today at 678-329-9084!