At Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, we have been asked whether someone’s immigration status matters in a personally injury lawsuit. The short answer is (drum roll please): It Depends.
What do you mean it depends?
Yes, saying, “it depends” seems like a cop-out, but it is also a correct one. Accidents happen every day in the Houston area. Whether it is an auto, trucking, offshore, construction, or any other type of accident. When these accident result in lawsuits – there is one thing that they all have in common: The Texas Rules of Evidence. The Texas Rules of Evidence are exactly what they sound like – rules that lawyers and courts must follow in determining whether or not something can be admitted as evidence in a case. One of the seminal requirements of evidence is that it be “relevant.” And those same Rules of Evidence make it clear that irrelevant evidence is not admissible.
Okay, so is Immigration Status relevant in an Injury case?
Victims of an injury have a right to file personal injury claims in Texas, regardless of immigration status. And Texas law does offer protection for an injured person who chooses to file a lawsuit relating to their injury. There is a great case in Texas that deals with this issue, albeit in an indirect way. TXI Transportation Company v. Hughes, 306 S.W.3d 230 (Tex. 2010) is a case that is frequently cited to uphold the notion that generally speaking, immigration status is not relevant in a personal injury case. A trucking company hired Mr. Rodriguez as a driver. Mr. Rodriguez lacked legal status. He collided with another vehicle while driving a tractor-trailer loaded with gravel. TXI Transportation was sued under a theory of negligent entrustment – that TXI’s failure to screen and discover Mr. Rodriguez’s unlawful status should have made him unable to work in the United States – and that his working in the United States “furnished the condition” that made the accident possible. However, the Texas Supreme Court noted that a Plaintiff must show that the risk that caused the hiring to be negligent also must have proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The Court found that Mr. Rodriguez’s immigration status was not relevant and should have been excluded as evidence.
Back to ‘it depends.’
As you can see, a person’s immigration status is not relevant in a personal injury case if the person’s immigration status did not proximately cause the accident leading to the injury. And put another way, if the injured person does not have legal status in the United States, they can still bring a lawsuit to recover for the injuries that they sustained as a result of the accident. All of this “depends” on whether or not the person’s immigration status was a proximate cause of the injury. A very high burden.
At Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, our firm focuses on representing those who have suffered a personal injury through the entire recovery process – physical, emotional, and financial recovery from injuries. We help clients tip the balance of justice into their favor through our years of experience and expertise and our vigorous representation of injured clients. Our care and preparation is the key to our success. The lawyers at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC can help you navigate this issue and answer any questions that you may have. If you would like to speak to someone about your particular situation or for a free consultation, call our office at (346) 966-HURT (4878). Tip the Balance in Your Favor.
* At Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, we pride ourselves on helping our clients to recover fully – physically, emotionally, and financially. Our clients are our family. We stand ready to help you recovery from your personal injury. Contact us today. http://www.houinjurylawyers.com.