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Can illegal immigrants get payment for a car accident injury?

You may be one of many people living in North America without legal citizenship. Your status means you are an illegal immigrant or undocumented worker. You may worry about deportation if someone finds out you do not have the legal papers required to live in the U.S. Deportation means you must leave the United States and return to your original country. 

Even if you live in the United States as an illegal immigrant, you have similar rights to those of an American citizen in a car accident.

What are your rights in a car accident?

United States citizens who are drivers or passengers in a car accident have the right to claim compensation for any injuries they receive.  You have the same rights. The United States laws allow you, even when you are not an American citizen, to receive emergency medical treatment in a hospital. A legal representative can help you file a claim with the other driver's insurance company to pay hospital and doctor bills, including other medical treatment you may need to recover. This process can be confusing if you do not speak or understand English very well. 

What should you do if you are in a car accident?

First, do not say anything about the accident to anyone, not even to other people in the accident or standing near the scene. This is vital. You can ask someone to call an ambulance to treat your injury. You do not need to tell that person you are not an American citizen.

Next, as soon as possible, contact a legal representative. Ask if he or she has experience helping people who are not legal United States citizens. A legal representative can help you file a claim against the other driver's insurance company to pay bills resulting from the accident. Do not worry. It is unlikely you will face deportation for filing a claim for injury. Your legal representative can tell you more about what to do. He or she will know how to protect your rights under American law.

What if you are the one who caused the car accident? 

Right now, it does not matter who caused the accident. Seek immediate help for your injury, and never tell police that the accident is your fault. You may be wrong. It is okay to tell the police that you do not know who caused the accident. Another person will decide who caused the accident. Do not tell the other driver, his passengers or any people standing nearby that you caused the accident. Also, do not discuss the accident with other people. Never apologize or say you are sorry for the accident.

It is critical to tell the police your true name and your real address. Do not lie. If you do not have a United States driver's license, the police may fill out a report. If you are not hurt, cooperate with the police. If they detain you or arrest you, follow their instructions. You could risk deportation if you do not follow police instructions, or if you lie to them. The police will most likely allow you or help you to contact a legal representative. You can tell everything to your legal representative. 

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