December 11, 2020
How you file a car accident claim if you’re an undocumented immigrant is no different from anyone else. Your immigration status makes no difference. Whether you entered the country a week ago or your family has been here for 200 years, your rights are the same.
Your car accident claim must generally have two legs for it to stand on. You must show:
- The crash is someone’s else fault.
- The injuries it caused and how serious they are.
What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident and Are Undocumented: Call 911
Preparing to file an auto accident claim starts the moment after it happened. The first thing you should do is call 911 if no one else has called already. Don’t let your immigration status stop you from getting help. The police officer at the scene should start gathering evidence to write an accident report. It’s the start of our crash investigation.
Facts are the basis of your car accident claim, and they must be proven. If you can safely do so, take photos and videos of the accident scene. If you can’t but your passenger can, ask them to do it for you.
Get Medical Attention. You Will Recover from Injuries Faster and It Will Help Your Claim.
Right after your accident, you should see a healthcare professional to assess your injuries. Use an ambulance if you’re too injured to drive from the scene. If you feel it’s safe for you to drive, go to the nearest hospital emergency department. At the very least, see a doctor the next day. You may be injured but not feel it, because your body is in a state of shock. You may be so stressed that your adrenaline may numb you to the harm you suffered.
To help your claim, when you talk to your healthcare provider the first time and during every appointment that follows, avoid “happy talk.” Keep all conversation focused on injuries related to your accident. Everything you say to your doctor could be part of his or her notes and may impact the outcome of your case. The insurance company and their lawyers will read these notes.
Be Honest with Your Doctor about Your Injuries
What you need to do if you’re in a car accident and are undocumented is be honest with your doctor. Make sure he or she understands how you feel, what you can and can’t do. It may be your habit to say you are doing well when people ask. If so, resist that usual response. If you say you’re feeling good, you’re OK, or you’re having a good day, that may end up in your doctor’s notes. The insurance company may claim that your words show you’re not injured or your injuries are not severe.
What’s Your Side of the Story?
It is important to your case that you capture as many details about the accident as possible. You can refer to these later. Write down what happened as best as you can remember. Go step by step. Here are some details to capture:
- How fast you were driving
- The traffic around you
- Where you were headed. Were you going straight? Taking a turn?
- The time of day
- The weather
- Were visibility or road conditions a problem? If so, how?
- How you felt before the accident. Alert? Tired? Distracted?
- Whether you saw the other car before it struck you
- If so, did you notice any problems? Was it speeding? Drifting between lanes?
- Where it hit you and how the impact affected you
- Describe your injuries and how they felt.
What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident and Are Undocumented: Call Our Office
Once your injuries have received medical attention, you should also call Waldman Legal Group as soon as possible. The earlier we get involved, the more we can do for you. We will put together your claim based on the facts we find.
To improve your chances of the best settlement or verdict, don’t talk to the insurance company. Whether the claim is made against your policy or the one held by the other driver, let us do the talking. Not only is it part of our service, but it protects you. If you don’t say anything to the insurance company, you can’t say anything wrong that will hurt your claim.
We talk to people all the time who tried to file their own claim. They didn’t have all the facts. These accident victims don’t know car accident or insurance law. They weren’t aware of how insurance companies or the claims process work. These people may have said things or signed forms that seriously harmed their legal rights. They settled for much less than their claim was worth.
After they realize what happened, they come to us to see if they can have a second chance. Nearly all the time, the answer is no. They said what they said, they did what they did, and their claim is over. Their injuries may last a long time and not all their medical bills will be paid, but they’re stuck.
The Car Accident Claim Process is About Providing Facts and Advocating for You
At the core of your claim are the details about the accident as well as the extent of your injuries. Our investigation starts with the police report. We will also:
- Go over your statement and your photos or videos
- Go to the accident scene and shoot our own photos
- Talk to witnesses
- Review any security camera video of the accident we can find.
We may hire an expert to recreate the accident. That person will use the evidence to determine how and why your accident happened.
We’ll also go over your medical records to see what injuries you have and how they affect your life. We’ll gather your medical bills and estimate what future bills you may have before you fully recover. A medical expert may be used to help support your claim.
How Strong is Your Case?
After gathering all the facts, we will make a judgment about your case. We may find you don’t have much of a case. If you are mostly at fault, you will get a much smaller share of the money than you may have received otherwise. However, we may also find that your claim is very strong. The evidence that the other person caused the accident and the facts establishing your injury may support a substantial claim.
Offer a Demand to the Insurance Company
We will present a demand to the insurance company. It will be backed up by the evidence we found and the expert opinions we obtained. Our demand will be the highest we can justify, given your situation. Insurance companies rarely agree to the first demand, so we try to negotiate a settlement that both sides can accept. This takes time, and the insurance company may want additional evidence. We may use a mediator to help both sides resolve the case.
Go to Trial if Necessary
If the insurance company is not being reasonable, we will take your claim to court. The overwhelming majority of car accident claims settle, whether before or after a lawsuit is filed. If your case doesn’t settle, our team at Waldman Legal Group will do all we can to show a jury that you’re an accident victim who deserves the highest award possible.
What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident and Are Undocumented: Retain the Law Firm You Can Trust
If you are injured in a car accident, we are here to help. We represent all car accident victims, documented and undocumented. If you have sustained an injury in a car crash, your immigration status won’t stop you from getting compensation. Act immediately and contact Waldman Legal Group so you can receive fair treatment for your injury.
The attorneys at the Waldman Legal Group PLLC are here to help you navigate through the car accident claim process. Call us today at (713) 688-4878. We look forward to helping you and your family get the compensation you deserve.