CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Receive Equal Compensation When Injured

Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Receive Equal Compensation When Injured

Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Receive Equal Compensation When Injured

Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Receive Equal Compensation When Injured

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton personal injury lawyer. On 17 August 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 2159, a landmark piece of legislation that prohibits the consideration of a person’s immigration status in determining damages in personal injury and wrongful death cases. This means that the nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants currently living in California can no longer be discriminated against in civil courts when they are injured or killed.

About the Bill and What it Means for Injured Immigrants

The bill states that civil courts cannot use a person’s country of origin to determine the monetary amount of damages paid in personal injury or wrongful death cases. While this seems like a common sense idea, since 1986, California courts have been allowed to use a person’s country of origin to determine the monetary amount liable parties must pay to injured undocumented persons or the families of killed undocumented persons.

The New Law Is A Victory for Undocumented Immigrants

Typically, the lost wages from the injury or death and the medical costs are two of the primary determinants of how much a victim or their family gets when a person is injured through no fault of their own. Following a California appellate court ruling in Rodriguez v. Kline in 1986, however, the numbers were determined using the lost wages a person could expect to earn in their original country and the cost of healthcare in their country of citizenship. This greatly decreased the amount of money liable parties had to pay to injured immigrants and the families of killed immigrants.

When Lost Wages Are Determined Based on Country of Origin

Many injured undocumented immigrants and the families of immigrants who died came to the United States, and California specifically, to work. Their reasons ranged from poor job opportunities to low wages and high poverty rates in their country of origin. At the most basic level, then, undocumented workers could expect to make far more money by living and working in the United States. Using the wage rates of an injured or killed person’s country of origin therefore vastly decreases the amount of money to which they are entitled.

When Country of Origin is Used to Determine Medical Costs

The monetary impact of using country of origin to calculate medical costs is even higher. The United States has far more advanced health care than many nations of the world. Unfortunately, that and the regulatory costs make US health care very expensive. By using the original country to determine health care costs, those immigrants received far less than the cost of their health care in the US.

Impact of the Old Precedent

The old ruling, and AB 2159,  specifically apply to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. These are cases where, through no fault of their own, a person is injured or killed because of the actions or inaction of someone else. By limiting these costs using a person’s immigration status, the law basically prevented undocumented immigrants from receiving equal consideration and compensation.

Equal Consider, Equal Compensation

California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced the legislation to legislatively overturn this antiquated and misguided judicial ruling. Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law and now all people stand on the same ground in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

Stockton Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys

I’m Ed Smith, a Stockton personal injury lawyer. If you or a member of your family has been injured due to the negligent actions of someone else, please call me today at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free, fast and friendly advice. Español hablado aquí.

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Source of Undocumented Immigrants Can Now Receive Equal Compensation When Injured:

https://asmdc.org/members/a80/news-room/press-releases/assembly-approves-gonzalez-bill-to-provide-fair-civil-awards-to-people-regardless-of-immigration-status

:KW

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