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What legal rights do undocumented immigrants have in California?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2022 | Personal Injury |

Those who are not US citizens may wonder if they can file lawsuits in a court of law or seek compensation for personal injuries they have suffered. Contrary to popular belief, if you are not a United States citizen, you still have rights in personal injury cases, divorce and custody cases, and criminal proceedings. Having US citizenship does not affect a person’s right to go to court or seek compensation for injuries. The American justice system is accessible to all.

What legal rights are available in Personal Injury Cases?

Suffering serious injuries as a result of another person’s negligence can happen to anyone at any time. Non-citizens have the right to seek compensation for their injuries or file claims in court and their claims will not be affected by their immigration status. Many may be hesitant to take legal action, fearful of the consequences that could come with a personal injury claim. Since 2017, a victim’s immigration status cannot be used against them. The victim should not fear deportation if they have suffered personal injuries. Most personal injury cases are settled before they ever go to court. Failure to file a claim could lead to huge medical bills, inability to work, job loss, financial changes, and expiration of the statute of limitations.

If you have suffered personal injuries, you can seek compensation for:

Medical bills
Pain and Suffering.

What Legal Rights are Available in Criminal Cases?

There is a misconception that the US Constitution only applies to US citizens. This is not true. Most of the Constitution applies to those without citizenship. The 14th Amendment grants equal protection of the law. This means that states must govern without discrimination. The Constitution also allows non-citizens to have the same due process protections as citizens.

Rights enshrined in the Constitution include the right to a speedy trial (6th Amendment), the right against unlawful search and seizure (4th Amendment), the right to counsel (5th and 6th Amendment), and many other rights granted by the Constitution. It allows the same burden of proof as citizens and the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. While there are more rights than those listed, these are the exact same rights that United States citizens allowed.

The United States court system can seem intimidating and difficult to navigate. You may be hesitant to file a case, unsure of the possible consequences. It is important to remember that if you are not a citizen, you still have rights. Citizenship is not required to file a personal injury case, divorce or custody case, and you are protected when involved in criminal matters. Knowing your rights can open up possibilities you may never have known about.

It is also important to speak with an attorney who understands your concerns and can speak to you in your native language to help you with any questions you may have. If you or someone you know has any questions about the legal system, please feel free to contact Attorney Kimberly M. Melchor (909) 732-8569 or email at