In the latest twist on immigration law in California big changes are happening for personal injury claims. As of January 1, 2017, Assembly Bill No. 2159 ensures that immigrants will not be discriminated against financially during personal injury claims. Prior to this bill’s inception, if an immigrant working in California were to be injured or killed their immigration status would affect their claim in civil actions. This is no longer the case. Learn more about what this means for you.
Personal Injury Claims Go Bust
For the past 30 years, if you were an immigrant working in California and you were injured or killed on the job, your personal injury claim was determined by your citizen status. What this means is you would likely receive far less money in a personal injury claim than US citizens.
Say you were to get hurt on the job and you take your claim to civil court. Before AB 2159, you would be reimbursed based on the value of your healthcare in your country of origin. As you can imagine there is a huge discrepancy here.
Proof in the Pudding
Take this example: If you were originally from Guatemala you would be awarded an amount for your medical expenses based on the amount that these procedures would cost in Guatemala. As a result, you would be paid far less money for care and treatment that you are going to receive here in the United States.
Rather than getting enough money to cover your medical expenses here in the United States, you are given enough money to cover your expenses in your country of origin — even though you are getting treated here in the United States.
This is the big issue here. Immigrants who are working and living in the United States legally should be and are provided with protections at the workplace. Part of this is reflected in personal injury suits, such as those presented by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). So, if you have legal status as an immigrant you should not receive less money if you are injured or killed while working for a US employer. Fortunately this bill reflects this belief.
If you have received less than you should for medical expenses in a personal injury claim because of your immigration status, we want to help you. Give us a call at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth to learn more or to schedule a consultation.