Do You Need to Be a United States Citizen to File a Personal Injury Claim?

Florida is home to many people who live and work in the community but are not US citizens. Under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, all people have legal rights, including legal residents and undocumented immigrants. Even if a person is not a US citizen, they have a right to seek due process while in the US. It’s quite common for non-US citizens to be involved in accidents and thus have a need for a personal injury claim.

You can file a personal injury claim if you are not a US citizen and sustain injuries due to another person’s negligence. The justice system in the US is open to everyone seeking recourse for their injuries, even non-US citizens.

Tourists Injured in Miami and South Florida

With tourists from around the world flocking to Florida all through the year, it’s almost inevitable for some of them to become accident victims. But, of course, that’s part of Florida’s charm – the melting pot of diverse people from all cultures and walks of life. People come from Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, North America, and the Caribbean. But what starts as a joyful getaway can quickly become a confusing and unclear scenario. So what happens if you get injured as a tourist on vacation in Florida?

Facing an injury that happens outside of your hometown or even out of your home country can raise complex legal issues. The bottom line is that the injured person will need to address their injuries and possibly recover damages from the responsible party. Working with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer might be necessary to recover a full and fair financial recovery for damages. If you live outside of the country, we can communicate through Skype, email, or other technology mediums to serve you.

There Is No Citizenship Requirement to File a Personal Injury Claim

It’s illegal to discriminate against non-citizens who wish to seek damages for injuries they sustained in an accident. Your country of origin does not matter for a personal injury claim. Thus, the US does not require citizenship for injury victims filing a personal injury claim. If the accident occurred in Florida, that is sufficient grounds to file a claim in the state. Moreover, as long as the court can satisfy personal jurisdiction over the defendant, you can proceed with the case. Finally, many claims are resolved without the need for litigation.

However, if the at-fault party’s insurance company does not make a reasonable settlement offer, it might be necessary to proceed to court. An experienced Florida personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and devise a winning strategy for your case. Again, strong legal representation is key to getting the best possible outcome if you need to file a lawsuit in the Circuit Court.

What Is Personal Jurisdiction?

Personal jurisdiction is the court’s power to make a decision over a lawsuit. So, the court has jurisdiction over the defendant. The court may establish personal jurisdiction in one of the following ways:

Domicile or Place of Business

If the defendant is a Florida resident or runs a business in Florida, the court can establish personal jurisdiction over them.


The court can establish personal jurisdiction if the defendant is present in Florida when served a copy of the complaint.

Minimum Contacts

Minimum contacts refer to businesses in Florida with minimum contacts with the forum state. This would be relevant if the defendant is from another state.


If the defendant comes to court in Florida or drives on Florida roadways, that will satisfy consent to personal jurisdiction in Florida.

What if I Was Injured While I Had a Visa or Green Card?

Many people who live and work in Florida hold a green card or a visa. Unfortunately, non-US citizens and green card holders often feel vulnerable due to language barriers or biases. However, consulting a skilled attorney can help understand how immigration and personal injury work for non-citizens. It may be a crucial step in recovering a fair amount of damages after an accident.

You Will Not Be Detained or Deported by Bringing a Claim

I have handled countless claims involving people who are here illegally. Law enforcement does not come around and deport you because you have an injury claim. Now, if you committed a crime, that’s a different story. But being in the country illegally is not a crime.

Likewise, if you are here on a green card or want to be a citizen one day, making an injury claim will not affect your ability to be a citizen. It is simply not a factor that the US considers when deciding who becomes a citizen. There is simply nothing to worry about, and there is no risk of bringing a claim.

Whatever your circumstances, we will prepare you for deposition and ensure you don’t get blindsided by any questions.

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim as an Illegal Immigrant?

Yes. Undocumented immigrants have a right to file a personal injury claim like anyone else in Florida.

You can seek damage compensation as a plaintiff who suffered injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. In addition, you may be eligible for financial compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

How Will They Find Out That I’m an Illegal Alien?

If the other party has strong defense counsel, they will likely introduce questions at deposition regarding your immigration status. Again, the best approach is to give honest answers. But again, your immigration status does not affect your right to legal recourse as a personal injury victim.

Can I Claim Lost Wages or Future Lost Wages as an Illegal Alien?

This is a loaded question that a Florida personal injury attorney can clarify in further detail. That said, regardless of your immigration status, you can claim for lost wages like anyone else filing a personal injury claim.

However, to seek compensation for future lost income, you need to consider whether the future loss of earnings is limited to what you would make in your native country. For example, many immigrants come here to earn a higher income than where they legally reside. But, a court may limit your damage compensation to earning potential in the country you are from.

This is a problem because the difference between what you would make there and in the US can be a substantial amount of money. Additionally, it might be hard for you to provide proof of your lawful eligibility to work in the US. Without that, proving your earnings and recovering such a loss will be hard.

Can I Seek Compensation for Future Medical Bills as an Illegal Alien?

This is a bit easier to recover than lost wages since the standard of proving medical care is a little easier than proving work eligibility as an illegal immigrant. Therefore, you may very well be entitled to recover the reasonable value of present and future medical bills.

I’m an Illegal Immigrant With a Florida Personal Injury Claim. What Do I Do Next?

Don’t get discouraged. You have rights; a skilled Florida personal injury lawyer can help you navigate your claim. They may be able to help you do this while keeping your immigration status at bay. The most important part is to be open and honest with your attorney about your circumstances. That way, they can help you figure out the best next course of action.

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Whether you came for business or pleasure, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim if another person’s negligence harmed you. So, if you suffered a personal injury in a Florida accident, don’t let your citizenship deter you from seeking damage recovery.

We offer a free and confidential initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose from calling us today. We can answer all your legal questions and determine the best course of action.