If you were injured in a car accident in Florida, your residential status should not impact your ability to recover compensatory damages.
When hurt in Florida as a non-resident, it is important to stay in the state long enough to get the necessary medical attention. Do not wait to go to the hospital until you return home. Florida’s no-fault insurance system can make it difficult for victims to sue in certain situations, even if they live in other states. If you can file a lawsuit against a negligent driver, familiarize yourself with Florida’s filing deadline, which is two years. Understand that suing in Florida might differ somewhat from suing in your state of residence.
To get a free assessment of your case from our Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyers, call The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. at (954) 751-4258.
What Should You Do as an Out-of-State Car Accident Victim in Florida?
Florida is undoubtedly a very popular vacation destination. Travelers might go through the Sunshine State as part of a road trip or cruise down the coast to one of the state’s many beautiful beaches. Unfortunately, sometimes vacations might be cut short by car accidents. If you were hurt in an auto collision in Florida but you live in another state, there are some things you should learn about the recovery process.
Get Immediate Medical Attention
First thing’s first: get immediate medical attention. When victims wait to go to the hospital until they return to their state of residence, it might seem as though their injuries are unrelated to another party’s negligent act. Furthermore, delaying getting medical attention could result in insufficient documentation of your injuries. Even if you do not think going to the hospital is necessary in the moments following a collision, go anyway. You cannot recreate these medical records at a later date, nor will medical records from the days or weeks following be as compelling or useful in a compensation claim. After you get the immediate care you need, you can then return home for additional treatment.
Begin Gathering Evidence
When people in Florida are hurt in car accidents, they might be anxious to get home. While that is understandable, it is important that you stay in the state long enough to begin gathering evidence or to explain to our Miami car accident lawyers the particulars of your accident. Once you do this, you can return home, and our attorneys can begin investigating your collision. Acting as quickly as possible is of the utmost importance, as crucial evidence might degrade or become more difficult to uncover as time goes by. For example, surveillance footage of an accident might get deleted if the owner is not contacted quickly enough. Or eyewitnesses’ memories might fade the longer they are separated from an accident. Additionally, physical evidence from the accident scene might become inaccessible if too much time has passed. Part of this process includes reporting the accident to the police, which is mandatory after any collision that results in bodily injury in Florida.
Understand the Insurance Implications
If you are injured in a car accident in another state, like Florida, that state’s laws regarding car accidents and insurance take precedence. So, if you are from a fault state and are injured in Florida, which is a no-fault state, the recovery process might differ for you. In Florida, filing lawsuits for personal injury might only permitted when car accidents cause a serious injury to a victim, depending on the amount covered by their personal injury protection insurance. That is why your immediate medical records will be so important to your case. Those records can allow our attorneys to establish that your injuries are severe enough to warrant litigation. Common injuries that generally enable victims to sue in Florida include traumatic brain injuries and broken bones, among many others.
Know Where to Sue
Generally speaking, lawsuits must be filed in the jurisdiction where they occurred. This means that if you are injured in an auto accident in Florida, you will have to file your case in Florida. In rare situations, plaintiffs might be able to petition the court for a change in venue. This might be more or less possible, depending on your ability to travel because of your injuries and the defendant’s state of residence. If you cannot travel to and from Florida because of your injuries, there might be accommodations put in place for you, such as video conferencing.
Learn the Filing Deadline
Every state has its own filing deadline for car accident cases, including Florida. In fact, Florida recently changed its statute of limitations for these kinds of claims. If you live in another state and are hurt in Florida, it is important that you know the amount of time you will have to sue. Currently, the deadline for car accident lawsuits is two years from the date of injury. If you do not bring your case by the end of the statute of limitations, you will be barred from recovery.
Be Aware of Comparative Fault
States follow different rules for cases that involve shared negligence between a plaintiff and a defendant. Recently, Florida became a modified comparative fault state, allowing victims to sue for compensation provided they are less than 50% at fault for their injuries. Still, damages might be reduced if victims are partially to blame for their injuries. Your state of residence might have a different rule, but because you were hurt in Florida, Florida’s modified comparative fault rules will take precedence. Becoming aware of this rule is important, especially since victims might be unnecessarily penalized if a defendant successfully argues that a victim shared fault for their injuries, even if that is not the case.
Call Our Florida Lawyers About Your Car Accident Today
To get help with your case from The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A., call our Boca Raton car accident lawyers at (954) 751-4258.