A Tourist Hit Me in Key West – What Are My Options?
Seeking fair compensation for your medical bills, property damage, and other losses is always challenging if you’ve been injured in a car accident. However, you’ll encounter even greater challenges if you’ve been involved in an out-of-state driver accident in Florida.
The good news is that drivers who reside out of state can still be held liable under Florida law. The not-so-good news is that you’ll need to jump through more legal and bureaucratic hoops to recover fair compensation after you’ve been hit in a car accident. Here is more on how to protect your rights and pursue compensation from out-of-state drivers.
Out-of-State Drivers Can Be Held Liable Under Florida Law
Driving in another state automatically gives rise to an implied agreement to comply with that state’s laws. Additionally, under Florida’s Long-Arm Statute, any driver who enters the state automatically consents to appear in a Florida court in the event of a road accident.
Ignorance of local regulations is no defense for violations of Florida’s traffic and other laws, either: Out-of-state drivers will be judged by the same legal standards as Florida residents.
Challenges When Seeking Compensation From Out-of-State Drivers
Here are some common challenges when investigating and litigating an out-of-state driver accident in Florida:
Locating the Out-of-State Driver
The first challenge has to do with identifying, locating, and establishing a line of communication with the non-Florida-resident driver after they return to their home state. That’s why we encourage car accident victims to gather as much information as possible in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
Unless you’re seriously hurt and require urgent medical attention, try to collect the following details:
- The driver’s full name, address, and home state
- The vehicle’s make and model
- The license plate number
- The driver’s insurance carrier
You should also report the accident to the police and have a law enforcement officer document and keep records of the crash. Be sure to request a copy of the police report, which will be a valuable piece of evidence when you file a claim later.
Understanding the Other Driver’s Insurance Coverage
If the out-of-state driver is insured, their coverage will likely differ from what is required or available in Florida. The good news is that while the policy terms may vary depending on the driver’s home state, coverage is typically valid in all states and you should be able to bring a claim against the insurance company.
You also have a right under Florida law to view the other driver’s insurance coverage and policy limits. Your attorney can help you request a copy of the policy, assess the level of available coverage, and explain your options for recovery before filing a claim.
Bringing the Out-of-State Driver to Court
By far, the greatest challenge in seeking compensation in out-of-state accidents revolves around forcing the other driver to litigate in Florida. If the insurance company refuses to settle or makes a lowball offer that doesn’t fully cover your losses, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover adequate compensation.
In such cases, serving the out-of-state driver with the complaint and other documents, such as discovery requests or subpoenas, can be very challenging if you don’t have legal representation. To ensure that your rights are protected and maximize your chances of recovery, consider hiring an experienced car accident attorney.
Were You Injured in an Out-of-State Driver Accident in Florida? Call Us.
At Florida Keys Injury Lawyers, our legal team has been helping victims of motor vehicle accidents seek compensation for bodily injury, property damage, and other losses for over a decade. Whether the other driver is a Florida resident or lives out of state – or YOU are an out-of-state driver injured in Florida – we can help. Call 786-605-8500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.