personal injury claim as a tourist

Filing a Personal Injury Claim as a Tourist – Is It Worth the Effort?

As a tourist, there’s very little on your mind other than enjoying your trip and crossing items off your itinerary. Being injured in an accident probably isn’t something you think about until it happens. Now you’re wondering about receiving compensation for your damages.

Another thought may be; is it even worth the effort to file a claim as a tourist? The answer is yes, you should always file an injury claim. Thankfully, navigating a personal injury claim as a tourist isn’t any more complex than if you’re a resident.

Jurisdiction Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

If you watch any crime procedurals on TV, you know shows like Law & Order or even Dateline, the term jurisdiction often pops up. On TV, it’s usually the police or district attorney’s office arguing over who has jurisdiction in a case.

If you’re not sure what jurisdiction means, the definition is pretty simple. Jurisdiction means the courts can only make decisions about incidents that occur in their region, and these regions are clearly defined and one court can’t encroach on another’s region. There are two types of jurisdiction, subject and personal matters.

Personal jurisdiction means the court has the legal authority to make decisions concerning a specific individual, typically the defendant. Subject jurisdiction allows the court to decide on a claim. In this case, it’s a personal injury claim.

Since jurisdiction is a legal requirement in all cases, including personal injury claims, tourists can’t file a claim in their home jurisdictions. If they also live in the same jurisdiction as the one where the accident occurred, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, if they live in another state they must file the claim in the jurisdiction where the incident happened.

In other words, if you’re injured visiting Chicago but live in Dallas, Texas you file your claim in Illinois. You can try to file the injury claim in Texas but since jurisdiction takes precedent your case will be dismissed.

Will You Need to Return to the State the Accident Occurred

You may not need to return to the state or city where your accident occurred. However, remember every personal injury case is unique and your presence may be necessary at some point in the legal process, which often depends on your legal representation and how your case is progressing.

After filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider, the next step is usually going through the negotiation process. You can skip the negotiations if you’re willing to accept an offer from the insurance company. Before you grab a pen and sign on the dotted line, there are some things to consider.

The initial and even subsequent offers from the insurance company are typically low, and you may not receive enough compensation to cover all of your damages. For example, soft tissue injuries can take a while to start showing signs and symptoms. The full extent of your injuries may not be apparent for days or even weeks after the accident.

If you accept the insurance company’s offer and discover you have additional injuries, you can’t refile a claim for the same accident. As soon as you sign on the dotted line, your personal injury case is considered closed.

So, do you need to return to settle your personal injury case? Even if you decide against accepting an offer from the insurance company, there’s a good chance your attorney can handle everything with a return visit from you.

Most negotiations can be handled without you being present. Zoom and other online platforms can keep you in constant contact with your attorney and even the insurance adjuster. If your personal injury claim heads to court, you may need to appear to testify. However, once again this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to book a return trip.

Should You Hire a Local Attorney

You may feel more comfortable working with an attorney back home but this can be a mistake. After all, state laws vary, especially regarding personal injury claims. Even the laws concerning different types of accidents can change from state to state.

For example, the statute of limitations can range anywhere from one to four years, which can affect your injury claim. Don’t forget about at-fault and no-fault laws. Sometimes, even comparative negligence can be a factor in a personal injury claim.

Working with a local attorney is the best way of ensuring you’re following and meeting all local laws and regulations. If you misinterpret even one regulation it can result in an automatic dismissal of your accident claim.

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