A Lutz car accident attorney quickly learns that no two Florida auto accident injury cases are the same. Each case has its own individual details and unique challenges, some more than others. This is especially true in accident cases that involve questions about jurisdiction.
We often speak with clients who have been injured in accidents that involve out-of-state visitors and their out-of-state vehicles. Conversely, we can also offer advice to Florida residents injured in out-of-state car accident. How to proceed in these cases depends on who has jurisdiction over a plaintiff’s case.
Out-of-State Driver Accidents
Where the accident took place almost always determines which court has jurisdiction over the case.
No matter what the driver’s residency, if an accident takes place in Florida, then Florida courts have jurisdiction, and they enforce the state laws pertaining to personal injury claims after accidents. For instance, Florida is a comparative fault state, which means that compensation is awarded based on each party’s degree of fault in the accident. This means that more than one party can be liable in an accident. If one party is found to be more than 50% liable, then they will not be able to recover damages.
How does the state of Florida ensure out-of-state residents honor their obligations? Florida has a “Long-Arm” Statute that gives courts the power to make sure out-of-state drivers appear in court if summoned. Under this law, any motorist driving on Florida roads automatically consents to appear in court if an accident occurs, no matter where their residence may be.
Florida Residents Involved in Car Accidents Outside Florida
Are you a Florida resident who has been injured in an auto accident that took place while outside the state? In almost all cases, if you need to file a car accident lawsuit, you will be required to file it in the state, county or city where the accident took place, depending on which has jurisdiction.
Your case will be bound by the laws of the state in which the accident took place. Different states have different standards of liability in automobile accidents. In such cases, it is important to be represented by a lawyer familiar with the laws in the state in which the accident took place.
Steps to Take No Matter Where Your Accident Occurs
No matter where your accident takes place or who is involved, there are several important steps to take immediately following the accident, including:
- Not leaving the scene of the accident
- Notifying law enforcement (either local police or highway troopers)
- Offering assistance to everyone involved
- Getting medical attention (even if you feel “fine”)
- Exchanging information (driver’s license, insurance info, etc.)
- Gathering evidence (take pictures, get names of witnesses, etc.)
- Notifying your insurance company
- Never admitting fault
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Cases
In a Florida Auto Accident Case, How Big a Settlement Can I Expect?
Each legal settlement is unique, and the details can play a large role in the outcome. Some questions that you and your lawyer will ask to determine a fair estimate include:
• What kind of insurance does the other driver have?
• How much have you paid in medical expenses, and what is a fair estimate of future costs?
• How much work have you missed, and how much do you expect to miss in the future?
• Who is at fault and by how much?
If I Feel Fine After an Accident, Do I Still Need to See a Doctor?
Even if you do not believe you’ve been injured, it’s important to seek medical attention after a car accident. Accident-related injuries can take several days to manifest.
When an Accident Involves More Than Two Cars, Who is Responsible?
A driver’s compensation in Florida will be directly proportional to his or her percentage of fault in a multi-vehicle accident; this is called comparative liability. In these complicated situations, figuring out who is to blame can be tricky, so hiring an experienced attorney is the best way to ensure you have covered all the bases.
Get Help from the Experienced Car Accident Lawyers at Rivas Law Group
Being injured in an automobile accident is bad enough without having to worry about matters of jurisdiction. Medical treatment, bills, losing work and dealing with insurance companies are just a few of the problems you may face after an accident. If you received your injuries in an accident that was the fault of another driver, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages related to your injuries. The best way to protect your interests at a time like this is to get legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney in Lutz and surrounding areas.
If you are a Lakeland, Winter Haven or Lutz area resident and have questions about an accident involving an out-of-state driver or were injured in an automobile accident while visiting another state, don’t hesitate to contact Tania L. Rivas and the Rivas Law Group to speak to an experienced auto injury attorney today. Personal injury cases involving questions about jurisdiction can present special challenges; the Rivas Law Group has the expertise and resources to offer assistance no matter who was involved.