Miami enjoys a booming tourist industry with visitors coming from all U.S. states. Sadly, being on vacation does not insulate you from the risk of being involved in a car accident. Injured victims from out-of-town face an even more overwhelming situation after an auto crash, since they are in unfamiliar territory – geographically, logistically, and legally.
The good news is that many of the laws that apply to motor vehicle crashes in your hometown also apply if you were hurt in a collision in Florida. However, there are some unique factors that can be complicated when you are trying to enforce your rights from afar – AND recover from your injuries at the same time. A Miami car accidents attorney can explain your remedies and assist with the legal process, but some general information may also be useful.
Car Accident Claims Process for Non-Resident Victims
Just as you would in your home state, you would first seek compensation for auto crash injuries by filing a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. If the insurer will not agree to a fair amount of damages, you will have to file a lawsuit in court. Without local counsel, you are at a disadvantage in two key respects:
- You lack a legal background. Though they are not lawyers, claims adjusters are trained by the insurance company in legal concepts and tactics designed to pay you nothing or as little as possible. In the event that you have to go to court, the insurer has an experienced team of attorneys who will aggressively fight to protect company interests.
- As a non-resident, distance can be a logistics issue. Logistically, being out-of-state makes it very difficult to pursue your claim through litigation. You need to file your lawsuit in Miami-Dade County or other county where the accident occurred, and you must attend all court appearances.
Special Considerations in Florida Auto Crash Claims
In addition to the factors listed above, there are other aspects of the law that affect your car accident case:
- Florida four year statute of limitations, so you need to file your case before it expires. If you do not, you are barred from ever recovering compensation.
- Florida is a no-fault state for purposes of vehicle collisions, and the rules are very different if you are used to at-fault laws in your own jurisdiction; and,
- The rules of comparative negligence apply to your case, a concept that puts the focus on your own actions. If you were also negligent in causing the crash, your compensation will be reduced according to the percentage of fault.
Contact a Skilled Miami Car Accidents Lawyer to Discuss Your Options
It is horrific to be involved in a car accident around your own hometown, but your situation may be even more overwhelming when you are hurt in a motor vehicle crash in another state. At Gerson & Schwartz, PA, we frequently represent visitors who suffer auto crash injuries and offer the same quality legal services no matter where you call home. We can conduct a free consultation by phone, so please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL to set up your appointment.