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How does wrongful death liability apply to illegal immigrants?

In Massachusetts, we value our rights and responsibilities as citizens. When a wrong is done to us, we expect that somehow it will be made right.

For the parents of a man killed in a motorcycle accident, there may be no sense of justice being served. The driver of a pickup truck car which struck the motorcyclist has been charged with motor vehicle homicide, driving while intoxicated, negligent operation, leaving the scene of personal injury and death, failure to stop for police, driving without a license and several other crimes. The man charged with these crimes was reported to be in the United States illegally.

A recent news report that focused on illegal immigrants and crime brought up a related issue for personal injury or wrongful death litigation. The family of the motorcycle accident victim could seek compensation for their loss through wrongful death litigation, but who would they sue? And what could they ever receive? Will the family ever get a sense of justice being served?

According to reliable sources, the accident occurred in Milford when a 34-year-old illegal immigrant from Ecuador was allegedly driving drunk when he struck a man on his motorcycle. The motorcyclist became trapped under the pickup truck and was dragged about one-quarter of a mile as neighbors and witnesses were reportedly pounding on the truck in an attempt to stop it.

The 34-year-old apparently ran over the motorcyclist more than once before he fled from police. The motorcyclist died as a result of the accident.

Apparently, the 34-year-old is now being held on a detainer by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

As a practical matter, this may mean that if the man is convicted of his crimes that ICE will see that he is deported after he serves his time. This may not be much comfort to the family of the motorcyclist who died a wrongful death. How does wrongful death liability apply to illegal immigrants? That question has no easy answers.

Source: Examiner, "Massachusetts police officer says illegal aliens encountered 'on a daily basis'," Dave Gibson, May 19, 2012

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