I Was Hit by An Out-Of-State Driver! What Now?
According to Visit Florida, the Sunshine State set a new tourism record with 126.1 million out-of-state visitors in 2018. That trumps the 118.8 million visitors that traveled to Florida in 2017 and continues an eight-year trend of steadily increasing tourism numbers. While this information may be great news to the state tourism board, this may be one of the least exciting facts to hear if you’re a Florida resident.
It’s not that we Floridians dislike out-of-towners, but many of us loathe the inconveniences that sometimes come with them. They lug enormous suitcases through the mall, won’t hesitate to stop on the dime and take a picture, and worse of all, they’re always distracted by their GPS — which increases the chances of a collision.
Those involved in car accidents with out-of-state drivers often have more questions than answers. Can I pursue damages if they plan on leaving the state? Are they required to stay in town for legal proceedings? Being unaware of what to do next often results in accident victims making hasty and unfavorable decisions. Here’s everything you need to know about South Florida car accidents that involve out-of-state drivers.
DO FLORIDA LAWS GOVERN ACCIDENTS WITH OUT-OF-STATE DRIVERS?
All accidents that occur in Florida are governed by the state, regardless of where the parties involved reside. This means that even if you’re visiting Fort Lauderdale from Tennessee and are struck by a driver visiting from Canada, you’d need to file a civil suit for damages in Florida.
Florida’s Long-Arm Statute gives courts the authority to require out-of-state drivers to appear in court if they’re ever summoned. Per this law, anyone who chooses to drive on Florida roads automatically consents to a court appearance in the event of an accident.
ESTABLISHING LIABILITY IN AN ACCIDENT WITH AN OUT-OF-STATE DRIVER
Every driver has the duty to other drivers to operate their vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner. When one violates this responsibility, they can be found liable for the damages that resulted from their negligence. Examples of negligence in a car accident case include:
Florida operates under the Pure Comparative Fault doctrine which limits how much one can recover from another party in a civil suit based on the percentage they’re found to be at fault.
For example, Driver A stops abruptly on the highway and Driver B slams into his bumper. Driver B seeks $10,000 in compensation from Driver A for damages, but upon further investigation, it gets discovered that Driver B did not have her brakes inspected regularly. The court finds Driver B 30% at fault and Driver A 70% at fault. As a result, Driver B can only recover 70% ($7,000) of the total damages ($10,000) from Driver A for which she was not at fault.
HOW AN EXPERIENCED CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP
Car accident claims with out-of-state drivers are notably complex due to the number of moving pieces, the many legal guidelines to follow, and the liable party’s common unwillingness to cooperate. Rather than allow this to overwhelm you, seek legal help from personal injury attorneys who dedicate their practice to helping the injured.
The Law Offices of McCullough and Leboff house passionate car accident lawyers with experience handling car accident cases involving out-of-state drivers. As members of the American Bar Association and Florida Justice Association, we go to bat every day for clients to help guide them to compensation for all accident-related damages. Allow us to do the same for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.