Can An Accident Qualify You For The U Visa?

By Published On: January 16, 2023Categories: Vlog, Adjustment Of Status, Green Card

Over 150 million international immigrant workers face physical risks and labor exploitation in unsafe and hostile work environments. These workers often lack knowledge about their rights and available tools for obtaining justice.

The U Visa addresses this issue by providing a permit for victims of violent crimes who have cooperated with the police. This visa allows them to remain in the United States, with the possibility of applying for permanent residence later on.

Here, you will know how accident cases can qualify for a U Visa. Gain valuable knowledge and insights from immigration lawyers at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law. They will answer your queries to help you make better decisions.

Learn About U Visa Qualifications And Eligibility Requirements For U Visa In The U.S.

How Does U Visa Help Immigrants In Cases Of Accidents?

The U Visa, established in 2000, encourages immigrants to report crimes committed against them. It also provides an opportunity for victims of workplace accidents, including car accidents.

For example, an individual from Sonora, Mexico, resides in Texas without legal documentation. Recently, while leaving work, a speeding truck hit this person. Despite being undocumented, the individual has rights and options. They can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver and report the accident to the police.

By actively participating in the investigation, they may qualify for a U Visa, providing them with legal status and protection. They must report the incident and cooperate with the authorities for the U Visa process to proceed smoothly.

How Should You Report The Accident?

If there are photos taken by friends related to the crime or accident, it is essential to provide them to the police. Law enforcement may also need to obtain video evidence. If you have them, you must cooperate with the police and provide the necessary information.

When providing testimony, the officers often request a written statement. You must write about how the accident happened, who the witnesses were, and attach any relevant photos. The police will then provide the address where the report should be sent.

Timeframe Of Reporting The Accident

In Austin, there is a dedicated department for traffic accident cases. The department will request people to report the incident and send the necessary information.

In the statement, they also ask for any additional evidence that can be obtained from other witnesses or individuals. They provide a specific deadline for submitting the information, typically within 30 days. The reporting time frame for a crime or accident is crucial to ensure that evidence stays valid. 

If the deadline passes without cooperation from the victim, the case may be closed without investigation. This situation can complicate the U Visa application since the case was closed and not adequately investigated.

You should follow up on the case to ensure progress. There have been cases where clients qualified for the U Visa because they were victims of a drunk driving accident. In these cases, the vehicles involved and their occupants are considered victims of the crime. 

The Department For Victims Of Crime

The Department for Victims of Crime provides regular updates on the case status. This includes information on whether the person who hit your car has been arrested. They share all of this vital information with the victims.

You can ask for information without your social security number or immigration status. This is because the department is solely focused on providing details to victims of the crime. Investigating the incident’s circumstances is crucial when assessing post-work accident compensation.

Can An Employee Receive Compensation If The Accident Occurred After Work?

If the accident was caused by someone else and not due to the employer’s negligence, then the responsible person is solely liable. However, if the responsible party worked for another company, you may have additional options for compensation.

The location of the accident also holds significance, particularly in weekend early-morning accidents. For example, if the driver drinks in an establishment, consider whether the driver exceeded their driving hours. Failure to comply with federal and state laws regarding rest breaks and accurate location reporting can result in criminal and civil offenses. 

Also, it’s essential to investigate the circumstances leading to the responsible party’s decision to drive recklessly or at high speeds. This may involve factors such as intoxication or drug use.

In any case, seeking guidance from a lawyer is crucial, especially if you have any information about the responsible person. Attempting to confront them on your own can be risky. Instead, reporting the incident to the police as a hit-and-run resulting in serious injuries is safer.

Where Can You Report Workplace Accidents?

You should report workplace accidents to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA. This federal agency regulates and enforces safety rules for employers.

You can make anonymous reports to help them inspect unsafe conditions in the workplace where injuries occur. All workplace accidents, especially fatal ones, require reporting to the police.

You should also report accidents involving vehicles if employer negligence is excessive. However, for both civil damages and the U visa case to progress, there have to be serious physical injuries.

Does Employer Negligence Qualify For A U Visa?

The requirement for the U Visa is for when someone commits a crime. While civil negligence does not qualify as a crime, specific actions, such as speeding while intoxicated, can be considered criminal.

However, if someone is speeding or committing a traffic violation, these would be considered civil offenses rather than criminal actions. Similarly, if an employer fails to provide necessary safety equipment or adequate security, it is a civil offense, not an illegal activity.

The U Visa applies explicitly to qualifying criminal actions. However, it is rare to see work accidents resulting in criminal charges because they are typically addressed as civil matters.

If the police investigate and file charges, the possibility of qualifying for a U Visa arises. In such cases, it would be best to consult your immigration lawyer for further guidance, as they are more knowledgeable in this area. They can also help you to obtain a T Visa if you are a victim of human trafficking.

How Can You Access The T Visa?

You can access the T Visa if you’re subjected to inhumane conditions. Human trafficking is a crime, and the T Visa is designed to provide support in such cases. Typically, employers provide workers with accommodations, food, and necessities, but exerting strict control over them indicates human trafficking. 

Get Personalized Legal Advice On Your U Visa Case If You Apply For This Immigration Process

They may do things such as withholding workers’ passports or consular IDs. This is a typical pattern observed in cases of human trafficking. People should report such instances to the police, who are familiar with identifying trafficking incidents.

Indemnity Rights

If a person reports a work accident and is mistreated and fired by their employer, indemnity availability relies on the accident’s circumstances. In Texas, a policy known as Workers’ Compensation exists, but it is not mandatory. It is a form of insurance that benefits employees injured or ill due to their job. This means employers are not required to provide Workers’ Compensation coverage to their employees. However, some companies may still choose to offer it as a benefit.

If an employer does not have this policy in place, you must provide evidence showing their negligence as the cause of the accident. However, without specific knowledge of how the accident occurred, it’s challenging to determine whether you have rights to civil indemnity. In such a situation, seeking legal counsel to know your options and eligibility for indemnity is crucial.

Implications Of Work-Related Accidents

In work-related accidents, negligence is almost always involved. Minor failure doesn’t typically result in death. An example of this is construction. Employers and companies may disregard safety measures like providing harnesses for workers at heights or near edges.

Fatalities usually occur due to severe civil negligence. Although not necessarily a criminal act, it does require the involvement of an attorney. In instances of work-related deaths, consultation with a lawyer becomes essential.

Lincoln-Goldfinch Law assists clients who reside in Mexico but have lost a family member in the United States. The lawyers visit them, as they cannot come, and explain the compensation system.

Why Is It Important To Have A Law That Protects Immigrants?

Certain areas in the law protect immigrant workers yet require improvement, particularly in ensuring workplace safety. The government agency OSHA needs to increase personnel and funding for thorough investigations of workplace accidents.

Currently, there are limited resources that limit the investigations to workplace incidents, making these challenging to address. Also, more substantial penalties should be imposed on employers that benefit from the labor of foreign workers, regardless of their documentation status.


The U Visa protects immigrant workers facing risks and labor exploitation in the United States, including those involved in accidents. Victims cooperating with authorities and reporting incidents, such as workplace or car accidents, may qualify for a U Visa. Timely reporting with evidence, cooperation with the police, and investigation participation are essential. 

The visa does not cover civil negligence but focuses on criminal actions. Additionally, legal support is crucial for work-related accidents, especially fatal ones. Enhancing immigrant worker protection laws, such as OSHA enforcement and penalties for exploitative employers, is essential.

If you have additional questions about accidents, the U Visa, or your specific case, you can contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a brief 10-minute evaluation of your case over the phone, we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you don’t miss our weekly broadcasts on FacebookYouTube, and Twitch.

About the Author: Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch

I am the managing partner of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law. Upon graduating from the University of Texas for college and law school, I received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship in 2008, completed at American Gateways. My project served the detained families seeking asylum. After my fellowship, I entered private immigration practice. My firm offers family-based immigration, such as green cards and naturalization, deportation defense, and humanitarian cases such as asylum, U Visa, and VAWA. Everyone at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law is bilingual, has a connection to our cause, and has demonstrated a history of activism for immigrants. To us, our work is not just a job.

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