Friday, July 21, 2006

Another Question

Today must be my pondering day.

Here's the situation. A man is involved in a car accident, not his fault. He is injured, but the insurance company doesn't want to pay for his treatment. The accident occurs in a parking lot, so the police are not called, but there are witnesses. The injured party comes to the law office looking for representation to get treated for the injury. The catch is that this person is an undocumented immigrant (illegal alien). Do you take this case? Should you take this case?

It's a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, you have an injured individual who is being denied compensation for his treatment. It seems wrong to deny a person treatment for an injury that the insured is responsible for causing. However, this person is an illegal immigrant. He is, by definition, violating the law every day. Is it right to avail this person to the possible legal avenues when he is willing to be a daily lawbreaker. But, is it right to allow one wrongdoer to go unpunished because his act of wrongdoing happened to injure an illegal alien?

4 comments:! said...

I don't think it's a conundrum at all. I think you need to get past the "illegal" terminology and remember that this person is a human being and deserving of certain basic rights, including that of being free from crime or other wrongs. Someone should never, ever be denied the same basic rights as others solely based on something like needing to cross a politically-created boundary without documents in order to put food on his family's table.

It is irrelelvant whether the victim of the accident is an undocumented immigrant, a professional thief, a politician or even an ex-Enron executive. Any supposed crime they may have committed doesn't have any bearing on whether or not they deserve to be compensated for their injury & this should never be considered a free pass for the wrongdoer. If an undocumented immigrant is sexually assaulted or murdered or their property is vandalized or burgled, are they not entitled to the same basic protections as the rest of us? What makes them deserving of less? Our country's racist, classist immigration policies? Is that really the kind of society we want? And if you think it is, ask yourself if, through the accident of birth you had been born Guatemalan or Vietnamese or Ethiopian, how would you feel? What if the tables were turned? What if our country was poor and unstable, partially caused by the meddling policies of other governments, and you had no other way to survive but to emigrate?

But back to your question about whether I'd take the case. It depends. I'd probably look into it to see if there was really a claim or if there is an alternate way to solve the problem & then make my decision. The only thing I can say with certainty is that the potential client's immigration status would have no bearing on my decision.

Hannelie said...

Tough one Steve and I suppose you should think of how it would reflect on your company if word gets out you're helping an illegal immigrant.
I would say any hospital should treat him if he's wounded, but for wanting to claim compensation and insurance, I don't think so.

I am an immigrant myself, I paid and applied the proper way and now I pay my taxes, I am also a person who believes totally in the law is there for a reason, and if it was me I would have said Sorry but NO!
The thing with illegal immigrants is that they are NOT medical tested or screened, you wonder how many diseases they bring into your birth country etc. Aids now in Africa is huge, and if this person might just come from there or not, you wonder what he's got to hide.
If you are proud of yourself and have nothing to hide why no do it the right proper way and apply legally, every one else did, what makes this person different to not wanting to go through the right channels. It's almost like these girls lately walking with skimpy clothes in night clubs and the moment they get raped they want compensation because their basic right to be safe is now not there any more!! hellooowwww

To me it's either right or wrong and if this person is a intelligent human being he should've done the right thing in the first place. To many criminals get away with the excuse "It's my hunan right"

Michelle said...

Legal hat off.....yes i'd help, legal hat on...NO WAY!

Matthew said...

Although this potential plaintiff is violating the immigration laws, he is still entitled to legal recourse if he has incurred personal injury.