What If An Accident Occurs With Non-Resident Driver?

Florida isn’t called “the sunshine state” for nothing, and is blessed with some of the mildest, most pleasant weather in all of America. That means that throughout the entire year, whether it is summer vacation, or Christmas holidays, there are always visitors to our great state that are trying to enjoy the environment that we take for granted every day of the year.

But with that increased flow of visitors, that also means that there’s a greater chance of accidents occurring. Sometimes, this may be a simple matter of a fender bender with someone that’s come in from out of state who was just unfamiliar with the traffic in a particular part of town. Other times, it may be more drastic, such as an international visitor from the United Kingdom, whose European driving reflexes kicked and put the car on the wrong side of the road, leading to an accident.

In most cases, when an accident occurs, the people involved will need to look at many factors before deciding whether or not there are grounds for taking a case to court. But what happens when the person who is involved in the accident isn’t from Florida, or isn’t even from America?

At The Scene

In the event that an automobile accident should occur, always respond with the normal checks, looking into the condition of passengers and any others that may be involved in the accident. Of course, if there are injuries an ambulance should be summoned, in addition to the police who will need to examine and process the accident scene.

If you are able, you should always attempt to exchange contact details between yourself and the other party involved in the accident. This is where your first indications of what kind of situation you’re in will begin to emerge. Obviously, if you can see that the car has out-of-state license plates, you already have a good idea that this driver is not a resident. However, in some cases, the car may be a rental, so it is only through speaking with the other driver that you can start getting more details about the nature of the incident.

In some cases, you may find that the person you’ve gotten involved in an accident with is not even from America. Sometimes, this may be still be a fairly straightforward affair, such as if you get into an accident with a “snowbird,” in other words, Canadian travelers or “part time residents” that come down to Florida for the winter. Because of the close relations Canada and Canadian businesses like insurance companies have with America, there will be little trouble in establishing and working out details of an accident.

Other times, you may be dealing with a visitor from Europe or Asia, such as a British visitor or Chinese tourist. Now you’re in a very different situation, because if the other party is responsible for the accident, language may be an issue, but, more importantly, this is a person on a trip that is destined to return to their country of origin. What happens to you other passengers in your car if there are injuries involved but the other person isn’t even a citizen of a country on the same continent?

The Legal Options

One of the things that does not change, especially in a car accident with injuries is the need for a personal injury lawyer. You should still seek out the services of an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you get full legal protection and representation. The procedure from here is still roughly the same in that both the insurance company representing you, as well as your lawyer will be conducting investigations in order to ascertain the true nature of the accident and see who is at fault. The usual measures of negligence and comparative or at fault details will be looked into.

Where things will really begin to differ however is in the court options. Even for someone out of state, if it’s clear the other party was at fault, it’s often better to settle out of court, and this is especially true for travelers from other countries. The reason for this is because the injury occurred here in Florida, to a Florida resident, should a lawsuit actually go to trial, it will be tried here in Florida. If you think it’s inconvenient for an out-of-state traveler to have to return to Florida for a court case, you can imagine how much more difficult it would be for someone from another country to have to come back to America just for a negligence or personal injury lawsuit.

In the end, it always comes down to the exact circumstances behind an accident determining the outcome of a lawsuit. The extent of the damage, and where the fault lies will be the biggest factors in determining what happens with your case.