The topic of illegal immigration continues to elicit divided opinions and media attention, both in Texas and throughout the country. Current topics in Texas address the extent of rights offered to undocumented residents, including granting in-state tuition to students, driver’s licenses (recently favored by gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis), and access to public benefits. On the other side of these rights are the responsibilities associated with the negligent or reckless acts of an undocumented alien.
In Houston, personal injury at the hands of an illegal resident is not entirely uncommon. Earlier this year, for example, a Harris County Sheriff was struck and killed by a drunk driver who appears to have been an undocumented alien. While this case is one with criminal consequences, civil courts can also address many of the claims associated, including wrongful death and (if the deputy had survived) a personal injury action. It is good to know that both administrative and civil courts have jurisdiction to hear controversies between nonresidents and U.S. citizens regarding such cases as workers’ compensation in administrative hearings and the enforcement of contracts in property, employment, and business, personal injury, and domestic disputes in civil courts.
So what does Texas law say if someone who is not a documented citizen injures you due to negligent or reckless actions? In personal injury lawsuits, a U.S. citizen may seek recovery of damages for uncompensated medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of companionship. A personal injury attorney works to resolve the rights of the injured party, regardless of who the defendant is.
Attaching damages from an underinsured or uninsured driver, locating a person’s residence if the driver’s license is missing or out of date, and finding the true owner of a car involved in the accident are just some of the issues associated with this type of case. While Texas law permits injured parties to assert a claim against an undocumented immigrant, the associated issues make working with an experienced Houston personal injury attorney even more important. An attorney skilled at working with police reports, locating employers, and gathering testimonial evidence can help in this type of situation.