The laws in the United States apply both to citizens and residents. People living in the United States without getting their citizenship can still benefit from many of the same protections as citizens and have to comply with the same criminal laws.
Visitors to the United States may be in a less secure legal position. Their time in the country will likely be brief, and then they will return to live abroad. Sometimes, a visit to the United States will involve someone getting seriously hurt because of someone else’s actions or negligence.
Does someone have to live or stay in the United States to take legal action in the United States civil courts?
Foreign nationals have rights in domestic court
Visitors to the United States have many of the same legal protection as residents. They can make a claim against the insurance policies that cover United States citizens and residents. In some cases, foreign nationals can even file civil lawsuits using the domestic court system.
If a visitor gets into a car crash, gets hurt by a defective product manufactured and purchased in the United States or suffers injuries on a poorly maintained property, personal injury laws will apply to visitors just the same as they will to citizens and residents. Provided that the specifics of the situation meet local jurisdiction criteria, foreign nationals can file civil suits in the court with authority over the case depending on where the incident occurred and where the other party lives.
There is also a special law that specifically grants the right of people from other countries to file civil lawsuits in the United States. The Alien Tort Statute is a law enacted back in the earliest years of the country’s existence. Since 1789, people who are not United States citizens have had the right to bring lawsuits in the United States courts over harmful actions or negligence that violates international law.
A person filing a lawsuit may not even need to stay in the United States during their legal case, depending on the situation. Having a domestic attorney can allow a non-resident to seek justice for an injury suffered while visiting the United States. Learning about the rules that govern United States personal injury claims can help those hurt while traveling or visiting loved ones.