Can a Non-U.S. Citizen File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Ohio?
According to the American Immigration Council, about 1 out of every 40 Ohio residents is a non-U.S. citizen. This includes both documented and undocumented immigrants. If you live in Ohio and you are a citizen of a foreign country, it is important to make sure you have a clear understanding of your legal rights.
This includes understanding your legal rights when you get injured in an accident.
Generally, in the United States, your citizenship and immigration status do not affect your right to file a personal injury claim. So, if you have been injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you can—and should—talk to a personal injury lawyer seeking just compensation. Your lawyer will be able to explain your legal rights in detail; and, if going to court could cause problems for your immigration status (which is unlikely for the vast majority of foreign citizens in Ohio), your lawyer can help you make an informed decision about how to move forward.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim if You Have a Visa or Green Card
Foreign citizens who are in the United States on a visa or green card have the right to seek just compensation when they get injured due to someone else’s (or a company’s) negligence. Visa and green card holders can file claims with the insurance companies, and they can file personal injury lawsuits in court when necessary.
In the vast majority of cases, recovering financial compensation after an accident does not involve going to court in the United States. According to multiple sources, well over 90 percent of all successful personal injury claims settle before trial. This means that successful claimants are able to obtain compensation from the insurance companies without ever setting foot in a courtroom.
Should you need to take your personal injury claim to court, you have the same right to justice as all U.S. citizens. Your lawful immigration status has no bearing on your claim, and the outcome of your claim will not impact your immigration status in any way. This means that you can confidently pursue your personal injury claim by all means necessary, and you can work with your lawyer to seek just compensation for your:
- Current and future medical bills, prescription costs and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Current and future loss of earnings
- Pain, suffering and emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium, companionship, society, support and enjoyment of life
But, while you have the same right to justice as U.S. citizens, this does not mean that filing your personal injury claim will be easy. In Ohio and other states across the country, all personal injury claimants face challenges when asserting their legal rights. As a result, it will be important for you to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer, and you should do so promptly to maximize your chances of success.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim if You are in the United States Illegally
What if you are in the United States illegally? For example, what if you illegally crossed the border, or what if you have overstayed your visa to study or work in Ohio?
Even if you are in the U.S. illegally, you can still pursue a personal injury claim in Ohio. Regardless of your immigration status, the law makes clear that you have the right to seek justice in the civil court system. Additionally, as noted above, most personal injury claims settle out of court—so there is a very good chance that your immigration status will not come up during your personal injury claim.
If you have concerns about your immigration status, your lawyer can help you address these concerns as well—whether personally or by referring you to a trusted immigration lawyer. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may have a variety of options for obtaining the documentation you need to live in Ohio legally. By addressing your immigration status along with pursuing your personal injury claim, you can put yourself in a better position for the future—whether your goal is to remain in the U.S. or you are planning to return home.
Pursuing Your Personal Injury Claim in Ohio
If you are a foreign citizen and you have been injured in a vehicle collision, slip and fall, or other accident in Ohio, there are some important steps you will need to take to protect your personal injury claim. These steps include:
- Seek Treatment for Your Injuries – Just like your right to justice, your right to medical care in the U.S. is not impacted by your immigration status. You should seek treatment for your injuries promptly, and you should be sure to tell your doctor how, where and when you got injured.
- Document Your Personal Injury Claim – When you have a personal injury claim in the U.S., thorough documentation is the key to recovering just compensation. Take photos with your phone, collect your medical and employment records, and start keeping a log of your injuries’ day-to-day effects.
- Avoid Discussing the Accident – To protect your personal injury claim, you should avoid discussing the accident with anyone at this time. This includes discussing the accident with insurance adjusters. If you have insurance that covers the accident (i.e., if you were injured in a vehicle collision), you should report it, but you should not give a recorded statement regarding what happened or who you think may be responsible.
- Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer – Filing a successful personal injury claim in Ohio requires experienced legal representation. To give yourself the best chance of recovering full compensation, you should seek help from a lawyer as soon as possible.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer in Columbus, OH for Free
At Malek & Malek Law Firm, we help U.S. and foreign citizens in Ohio recover just compensation for accident-related injuries. If you think you may have a claim, we encourage you to call 888-444-7440 or contact us online to arrange a free and confidential consultation.