Can you recover compensation?
Florida is one of the top states for undocumented immigrants, many of whom have come to the United States seeking better opportunities. These individuals are sometimes referred to as “illegal aliens” and are often blamed for taking away jobs from U.S. citizens and legal residents. However, these immigrants also contribute to our society in many ways.
If you were injured in a car accident with an undocumented immigrant, you probably have questions about your ability to recover damages for accident-related injuries, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of undocumented immigrants across Florida and the U.S. and provide answers about what to do and how to recover compensation if you’re involved in an accident with an undocumented immigrant.
How many undocumented immigrants live in Florida?
According to a study done by Pew Research Center, there are an estimated 780,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida, which is equal to 4 percent of the state’s population. This means that more undocumented immigrants live in Florida than in any other state except California and Texas.
The majority of these people come from Latin America and have been in the U.S. for many years. They often find jobs in areas like construction, farming, restaurants and hospitality.
Florida illegal immigrants countries of origin
The top 5 countries of origin for illegal immigrants in Florida are:
Cubans make up about 20 percent of the total population of all undocumented immigrants in Florida, while Haitians account for 13 percent. The rest of the undocumented population is made up of South Americans (16 percent), Central Americans (10 percent) and Asians (10 percent).
How do illegal immigrants arrive in Florida?
Illegal immigrants often come to Florida through a family member who is already living here. This can include undocumented immigrants who enter the country illegally or overstay their visas in many cases.
Another common way that many illegal immigrants arrive in Florida is through airports and seaports with tourist visas or other temporary permits.
Where do illegal immigrants work?
Illegal immigrants in Florida work in many different industries. Some of the most common industries where undocumented immigrants work include:
- Construction. Construction jobs are often physically demanding and require a lot of skill. Across the U.S., approximately 4 million undocumented immigrants work in construction, making them 13 percent of the construction workforce.
- Foodservice. Undocumented workers are responsible for about 8 percent of the restaurant workforce in the U.S., with approximately 1 million workers.
- Farming, fishing and forestry. Undocumented workers account for at least 25 percent of all U.S. workers in these industries.
Additionally, according to a report by the Center for American Progress, nearly 1 in 5 landscapers, housekeepers, and construction workers in the U.S. are undocumented immigrants.
What to do immediately after an accident with an undocumented immigrant
If you’re involved in an accident with an illegal immigrant, you should try to find out as much information about the driver as possible. This includes their name, address, and phone number, if possible.
If the driver refuses to provide this information or flees the scene, try to get any other identifying information, such as a license plate number or the make/model of the car they were driving.
You may also want to check with the police to see if they’ve been involved in any other accidents or criminal activity in the past that could negatively affect the outcome of your case.
What are the challenges of getting compensation from undocumented immigrants?
In the U.S., we have a system called tort law that allows people to receive compensation for injuries and damages caused by other parties. But there are additional challenges when the person responsible for causing the injury is an undocumented immigrant.
Illegal immigrants may be difficult to locate
An undocumented immigrant who is at fault in an accident and flees the scene probably doesn’t have a driver’s license or insurance, which often makes it difficult for authorities to track them down.
Illegal immigrants are often underinsured or uninsured
Illegal immigrants who don’t have a license can’t buy auto insurance. As a result, many of these individuals drive without insurance coverage. Since they don’t have insurance, they don’t have the same liability limits as insured drivers.
If the person who owns the vehicle that an illegal immigrant was driving (such as their employer) does not have insurance on that vehicle, it can be difficult to recover damages.
Many undocumented workers don’t have bank accounts
Many undocumented immigrants get paid under the table and work for cash, meaning they often don’t have bank accounts or credit cards. Since they are often vastly underpaid in comparison to legal American workers, it’s usually much harder for them to pay for repairs and medical bills after an accident.
Lack of cooperation
Undocumented immigrants often don’t want to cooperate with law enforcement or insurance companies because they fear deportation or being reported as having a fraudulent driver’s license (i.e., having used fake documents). This can make it harder for law enforcement to investigate an accident and determine who was at fault.
When to contact a Florida personal injury lawyer
If an undocumented immigrant has injured you in an accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. The laws surrounding these types of accidents are extremely complicated, but an experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your case, estimate your potential compensation, and give you advice on the best way to proceed.