Girardi | Keese

Immigration Status No Longer Affects an Injury Verdict

Statue of Liberty.jpg

This month brought a major win for undocumented immigrants and civil rights activists in California. AB 2159 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Aug. 17, which effectively blocks a plaintiff's immigration status as admissible in court during personal injury and wrongful death cases. Regardless of a person's immigration status, this law ensures a greater measure of justice for undocumented workers.

History

The law is based on an appellate court decision from 1986, Rodriguez v. Kline - an injured plaintiff was seeking compensation that included healthcare costs and damages for the loss of future work. The court ruled to use the plaintiff's immigration status as a key factor in the case, using their "home" country as a basis to calculate lost wages rather than their wages and medical care costs in the United States. If a person was wrongfully injured as an undocumented immigrant, they could potentially receive a fraction of the compensation they would if they were documented. This discouraged many immigrants from filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in California, fearing they wouldn't be fairly compensated and that their immigration status would be on the public record.

Victory for immigrants

AB 2159 was sponsored by California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) who said, "When injustices are committed in California, the parties responsible should be held to California's standards, it's that simple." The California Legislature has worked to pass laws to protect the rights of undocumented people, including workers, and now these protections include people injured on the job, disregarding their immigration status. The sponsors of the bill also hope to see more undocumented immigrants come forward to receive damages after being injured, rather than avoiding court and the disclosure of their status. The law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

IN THE NEWS

The Soto Verdict

Girardi | Keese attorneys have won a $2.3M verdict for a Long Beach resident run over by a Parks & Rec truck. Read more here.

The Madero Verdict

Attorney Christopher T. Aumais persuaded a San Bernardino County jury to deliver an  exceptionally high verdict in an area known for low jury awards.

A Champion of Justice

Partner Amy Fisch Solomon was a Champion of Justice in 2015, proving that success in law isn't just about the size of your verdict or settlement.

Own a VW Diesel?

Read about VW's emissions scandal and 
our class action against the automaker.

Referrals

Learn About Our Referral Network Read More

Our Attorneys

Meet our award-winning team Read More

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

The true measure of a lawyer isn’t the awards, but what the awards say about the lawyer: dedication and commitment to the client.

Super Lawyers Distinguished AV | Lexis Nexis | Martindale-Hubbell | Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability American Association For Justice Consumer Attorneys Association Of Los Angeles Consumer Attorneys California Supreme Court Icon 7 Icon Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms 2014 | U.S. News American Board of Trial Advocates Law Dragon America's Top 100 Attorneys | Lifetime Achievement