Resource Library

What Are My Rights as an Undocumented Immigrant in the US?

Topics: Immigration

Currently, there are over 11 million men, women, and children in the US who do not have the proper documentation to live and work here. Sometimes called “undocumented” or “illegal” immigrants, these 11 million residents of our country do indeed have rights under state and federal, contrary to the claims of some anti-immigrant commentators. With the controversy surrounding undocumented immigrants reaching a fever pitch with the election of President-elect Trump who campaigned on a hard line approach to immigration, it is important to clear up misconceptions regarding the rights of undocumented immigrants in the US.

The Right to Due Process and other Constitutional Rights

To be sure, if you are an undocumented immigrant in the US, you can be deported to your home country, and 2.5 million people have been deported throughout President Obama’s two terms. That said, undocumented immigrants enjoy numerous constitutional rights under the US constitution, including the right to due process. What this means is that you cannot be deported without being given due process, which essentially means you should be given a fair hearing before government authorities with the opportunity to present evidence on your own behalf. In addition, undocumented immigrants have constitutional rights related to our criminal defense system, including a Fourth Amendment right protection against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. For example, law enforcement cannot enter your home without a warrant in most cases, and must have constitutional grounds to search your body or property or place you under arrest. The Supreme Court has held that states may not discriminate against undocumented immigrants unless there is a rational basis for doing so. In the influential 1982 case of Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court held that a state could not constitutionally exclude children of undocumented immigrants from attending school.

The Right to Sue Employers and Others

Although undocumented immigrants do not have the right to work in the US, once they are employed by an employer, that employer must follow all applicable laws in how they treat immigrants. For example, your employer must follow all health and safety laws as well as wage and hour laws. In addition, while an employer can refuse to hire you on the basis of your immigration status, they cannot discriminate against you based on race or national origin, and they cannot falsely use your immigration status to justify discrimination or harassment. Furthermore, undocumented immigrants have the right to collect California state disability payments if injured on the job. If you have been unfairly treated by an employer in violation of the law, you do have the right to pursue legal remedies against that employer. You will want to consult with an experienced attorney before doing so, however, as bringing suit may call attention to your undocumented status in ways that could be damaging to you and your family. An experienced attorney will walk you through your options in obtaining justice while minimizing negative consequences.

Help is Available for Undocumented Immigrants

The above discussion is just a small sample of the issues surrounding the rights of undocumented immigrants in the US and California, specifically. It is important for undocumented immigrants to work with a trusted representative who can provide confidential advice on the situations they are facing. At the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth, we represent individuals and families in a variety of actions across Southern California, including personal injury matters, immigration issues, work injuries and disability claims, and criminal defense. Our diverse legal team is multilingual and we have offices across the region. Contact us today for a confidential consultation regarding your legal questions.
Resource Library

How Fault in a Car Accident Affects Compensation

Topics: Auto Accident

A car accident typically occurs in a matter of seconds, and it is not unusual for events to happen so quickly that those involved in the accident - whether they be drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians - to be unclear on what exactly happened, much less who is at fault. Or, just as often, various individuals’ accounts of who was to blame for the accident can be all over the map with all kinds of open questions: Was a driver tailgating? Was a pedestrian jaywalking? Did a bicyclist fail to stop at a stop sign? All of these questions go to the question of fault, and fault is a critically important aspect of recovering compensation in your California car accident claim.

Proving Fault is Required to Recover Anything

Car accident claims are governed by state law, and many states have what is called a “no-fault law” for car accidents which takes the question of driver fault out of the equation for processing many claims. California is not one of those states, and to collect a monetary recovery from a driver and/or his or her insurance company, the injured party must prove that the driver was at least partially at fault in causing the accident. To prove fault, the injured party will need to show that the driver failed to take the due care that a reasonable person would have taken in a given situation, and that, as a result of this failure to take care, the plaintiff was injured. This could be demonstrated by proving that the driver failed to follow driving directions such as stopping at a red light or driving in the wrong line or simply following another driver too closely without leaving room to brake safely. Your car accident attorney will investigate the accident and collect all relevant physical evidence and testimony to support your claim that the other party was at fault in causing the accident.

You Can Recover Even if You Were At Fault

It is not at all uncommon to have a situation where both the injured party and the defendant were at fault in causing the plaintiff’s injuries, meaning both failed to take due care to avoid the accident. For example, if a pedestrian jaywalks on a one-way street, and a car travelling the wrong way down the street hits the pedestrian, the argument could be made that both were negligent. But, in California, the injured plaintiff can nevertheless recover for at least part of his or her injuries based on the state’s “pure comparative negligence system.” Under such a system, a plaintiff can recover for the percentage of his or her damages proportionate to the percentage of fault attributable to the defendant. Taking the above example of the jaywalking pedestrian and wrong-way driver, if the plaintiff suffered $1,000,000 in damages and the court found that the pedestrian was 20% at fault and the driver was 80% at fault, then the pedestrian could recover $800,000 from the driver (in other words, 80% of the $1,000,000).

Contact a Southern California Car Accident Accident Attorney Today

When you work with the legal team at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth, you can expect a trusted legal advisor and guide at your side. By contacting us as soon as possible after your car accident, we can immediately step into action to begin investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and working with your medical provider to build your best case for maximum recovery. Our multilingual staff is here to help victims of car accidents and their families across Los Angeles and Southern California. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation regarding recovery for your automobile accident.