Anyone injured in Florida can assert a claim for damages in Florida – even if they live somewhere else. It does not matter that the traveler or tourist does not resolve their claim before they leave Florida – in fact, it would be very rare for this to happen for a tourist. We see this issue arise occasionally with injury claims against the Disney properties. When an injury is reported, it is not uncommon for Disney representatives to show up with gift cards, or with offers for free nights in hotels or meals.
However, tourists should resist the temptation to accept these gifts and sign any kind of Release. At or near the time of an accident, it is generally too early to worry about resolving any kind of claim; whether it is a rental car company, a car insurance company, a resort or theme park. Until a tourist has had enough time to return home and receive timely medical attention, resolving a claim should be a secondary concern.
In order to resolve a claim, a tourist should have some idea if there are going to be any lingering health issues arising from the accident. People (including tourists) often do resolve cases or claims with resorts and car insurance companies by themselves without the need of an attorney, and many times that is appropriate. If it is not a significant claim and it does not have any complex issues – and the traveler feels confident enough to handle his or her own negotiations – there should be no problem. But if the tourist has significant injuries, or if there are going to be longer term consequences, or if there are any complex legal issues, a tourist should definitely consult with a Florida attorney.
Can Someone Be Required To Return To Florida To Deal With A Personal Injury Claim?
This can often be a fulcrum issue in cases involving tourists. The reason being is that many of these vendor/defendants often deal with injured travelers. The local theme parks and the resorts, as well as the rental car companies, all know that it is expensive for people to come back here to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit. This tends to color the way that these defendants deal with people or are willing to deal with people regarding claims. The most common impact of this “distance factor” is a low settlement offer. This tends to be even worse the farther away the injured tourist lives.
Ultimately, Florida law requires anyone who brings a lawsuit in Florida to come back to Florida at least twice (if not more.) A tourist can be forced to come back to give sworn testimony (in Florida, we call them depositions), and to attend a mediation, and possibly for a trial.
That being said, most claims are settled without the need for a lawsuit. So a tourist does not necessarily need to be here in order to resolve a claim. We have handled claims for hundreds of people, including many Europeans who have been injured here in Central Florida. In the vast majority of those cases, we have been able to achieve fair settlements for them because the insurance companies know that they have representatives here in Orlando that are willing to do the hard work it takes to achieve a fair result.
It is not every case that tourists have to come back, but they need to understand that the insurance companies can make them come back if a lawsuit becomes necessary. If or when tourists do need to come back, the travel will be at the tourist’s expense, not at the expense of the entity that injured them. A lot of travelers get upset about this. There is just no way around this.
Will I Need Any Additional Documentation If I Am Getting Medical Treatment In My Native State?
If you are a United States citizen, our ability to acquire your medical records is practically seamless. Foreign travelers injured here in Florida pose a bit more of a challenge. However, we have often used medical records translators without a problem.
The most important thing that a tourist can do if they are receiving medical treatment related to an accident in Florida, is just comply with the doctor’s orders. Show up on time for each visit, and do what the doctor says.
For more information on Making A Claim From Your Native State, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 477-644-4444 today.