The attorney’s tag line in a Spanish-language newspaper read: "No Insurance, No License, No Problem." Not necessarily something we’d use for our firm, but it definitely caught my attention.
A lot of people – whether they speak English, Spanish or some other language – have preconceived notions about personal injury claims. A lot of people think that they can’t seek damages if they’re involved in an accident and don’t have a driver’s license. While a driver’s license is required by law to operate a motor vehicle, it is not required by law to bring a personal injury claim. If you’re rear-ended while stopped at a traffic signal it doesn’t matter whether you have no license, a suspended license, a revoked license or valid license. You still have a personal injury claim against the person who hit you from behind.
The same thing’s true about insurance. The State of Washington requires drivers to carry certain minimum liability limits. Insurance is necessary in order to operate a motor vehicle. But like a driver’s license, is not necessary to have insurance in order to bring a personal injury claim. You can still recover even if you didn’t have insurance at the time of an accident.
Again, same point holds true about citizenship. It’s not necessary to be a U.S. citizen in order to bring a personal injury claim in the United States. While some challenges may exist in terms of recovering lost wages, the remainder of personal injury damages is certainly within the reach of someone who’s going to stay in this country or lives here and lacks either citizenship or proper documentation. The fact that you don’t have U.S. citizenship or a green card does not preclude a personal injury case. Further, we’ve never encountered a situation where pressing a personal injury claim has resulted in any negative immigration action. The two are not connected.
If you’ve been hurt by someone else who wasn’t paying attention, was driving too fast or lost control of their vehicle, you deserve to be compensated. Don’t rule out a claim until you speak with a personal injury attorney.