Injured While on Vacation or Traveling for Business in Fort Lauderdale? Here’s What You Need to Know
When you are traveling, the last thing you expect is to get injured. But, accidents can happen anytime and anywhere—including while you are on vacation or traveling for work.
While dealing with an accident is a headache under the best of circumstances, if you were injured while visiting Fort Lauderdale, it is important not to put off dealing with your situation until you get home. You need to get treatment for your injuries; and, if you have a claim for compensation, you will need to hire a local attorney to get to work as soon as possible.
How to Protect Yourself After an Accident in Fort Lauderdale
Dealing with an accident or traumatic injury while out of town is much the same as dealing with an accident or traumatic injury at home. However, it presents a unique set of challenges as well. This is especially true if you were injured in a fatal car accident, as Florida’s auto insurance laws differ from those in most other states.
This page covers everything you need to know if you were injured in Fort Lauderdale but live out of state. The topics we cover in detail include:
- Dealing with a Car Accident in Fort Lauderdale as an Out-of-State Driver
- Dealing with a Slip-and-Fall or Trip-and-Fall Accident While on Vacation or Business Travel
- Dealing with Other Accidents While Visiting Fort Lauderdale
- What To Do After Being Injured While Traveling
- Answers to Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs)
Injured in a Car Accident as an Out-of-State Driver
Florida is one of a limited number of states that have adopted “no-fault” auto insurance laws. This means that local drivers are not required to pay for bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage, which is the coverage that provides compensation to accident victims when the insured driver is at fault. Additionally, and unfortunately, Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country.
But, this does not mean that you are without options. Many Florida drivers choose to purchase BIL coverage even though it isn’t legally required. You may also be able to file a claim under your own auto insurance policy, and you may be able to file various other types of claims as well. Here is a brief overview of the options that are available in three of the most common scenarios:
- Driving Your Own Vehicle – If you drove to Fort Lauderdale in your own vehicle, you can seek coverage under the other driver’s policy (if the other driver was at fault), and you can seek coverage under your own policy as well. Depending on your coverage, this could include filing a “no-fault” personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) claim and/or filing a claim for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM).
- Driving a Rental Car – If you were driving a rental car, your personal auto insurance should still apply, and you can still file a claim under the other driver’s policy if he or she has coverage. If you purchased rental car insurance or have additional coverage (for example, some credit card companies provide rental insurance if you pay with their card), you can file these types of claims as well. In limited circumstances, it may also be possible to file a claim against your rental car company.
- Riding in an Uber or Lyft Vehicle – Uber and Lyft accidents also present additional options for seeking financial compensation. Florida law requires rideshare drivers and rideshare companies to carry liability insurance, including a minimum of $50,000 in BIL coverage per person ($100,000 per accident).
In addition to these options, you could also potentially have a claim for a vehicle defect, vehicle maintenance issue, or issue with the road. If you have been seriously injured, filing one (or more) of these claims could be essential for maximizing your financial recovery.
Injured in a Slip-and-Fall or Trip-and-Fall Accident on Vacation or Business Travel
Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents are among the most common causes of injuries during travel. If you were injured in one of these accidents, your legal rights are not impacted by the fact that you live in another state. Property owners and businesses in Fort Lauderdale owe legal duties to their visitors and guests under Florida law, and these duties apply regardless of where their visitors and guests reside.
Vacationers and business travelers can pursue claims against all types of property owners and businesses in and around Fort Lauderdale. This includes:
- Airports and Rental Car Facilities
- Hotels and Rental Properties
- Conference Centers
- Bars and Restaurants
- Boardwalk and Sidewalk Falls
- Retail and Grocery Stores
- Shopping Malls
- Sports and Entertainment Venues
- Outfitters, Charter Offices and Other Businesses
No matter what you were doing, if you slipped or tripped and fell while on vacation or business travel, you should speak with a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer about your legal rights. If you suffered a muscle or ligament tear, bone fracture, or any other type of significant injury, your medical bills will add up quickly, and you could face other losses as well.
Injured in Another Type of Accident While Visiting Fort Lauderdale
Beyond vehicle collisions and falls, various other types of accidents can leave travelers suffering from serious injuries. You should also consult with a lawyer promptly if you were injured in any of the following:
- Pedestrian, Bicycle and Scooter Accidents – Unfortunately, many Fort Lauderdale drivers are not as careful as they should be. If you were injured while walking, jogging, or riding a rented bicycle or scooter, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
- Boating and Charter Accidents – Many people come to Fort Lauderdale to get out on the water. If you were injured in a boating or charter accident, a jet ski accident or any other accident on the water, the owner of the business or vessel may be liable for your losses.
- Cruise Ship Accidents – Were you in Fort Lauderdale for a cruise departing or arriving at Port Everglades? Various types of cruise ship accidents are common, and cruise operators can be held liable in many cases.
What Should I Do if I Was Injured While Traveling in Fort Lauderdale?
You live out-of-state, and you were injured while traveling in Fort Lauderdale. What should you do? There are actually several steps that you should try to take as soon as possible. Here are five of the most important steps you can take if you were injured while visiting Fort Lauderdale:
1. Collect as Much Information as Possible
Any time you are involved in an accident, it is important to collect as much information as possible. But, this can be especially important if you live in another state. Collect insurance information and witnesses’ contact information, write down license plates and addresses, and take detailed notes to help you remember exactly what happened.
2. Take Lots of Photos with Your Phone
In addition to collecting information, you will also want to take lots of photos with your phone. If you can, take pictures of your vehicle or the location where you got injured, photograph the surrounding area, and capture your injuries and any damage to your clothes or personal items.
3. Seek Medical Treatment for Your Injury
You should seek medical treatment right away. As much as you may want to carry on with your vacation, or as much as you may feel that you need to get back to work, your health needs to be your priority. Go to the hospital, tell your doctor exactly what happened, and try to make sure you get a copy of your records before you leave.
4. Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer
A Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer can explain everything you need to know, and your lawyer can take several necessary steps on your behalf. If you are entitled to compensation for your injury, you will also need a lawyer to conduct an investigation and collect the available evidence as soon as possible.
5. Manage Your Itinerary
While this certainly isn’t the biggest priority, you should alter your travel arrangements as necessary if you are capable of doing so. If you are in the hospital, your hotel or rental property may be willing to cancel the remainder of your stay if you call promptly. Airlines’ refund and credit policies vary, and you may have time to cancel your flight if your plane hasn’t left already as well.
If you were traveling for work, you will also want to contact your employer. Let your supervisor know what happened, and make sure you do what is necessary to preserve your right to workers’ compensation benefits if you are eligible.
FAQs: Dealing with an Accident in Fort Lauderdale When You Live Out of State
If I Was Injured While Traveling, Should I Call a Lawyer in My Home State or Where I was Injured?
If you were injured while traveling, you will need to hire a lawyer in the city where you got injured. Your lawyer will need to be licensed to practice locally, and it will also be important for your lawyer to be familiar with the local area. While you can meet with your lawyer in person if you have time (and are physically able to do so), this is not a necessity. Your free initial consultation can be handled over the phone or via video call, and your lawyer can fully represent you remotely.
Should I Get Medical Treatment in Fort Lauderdale Before I Leave Town?
Yes, you should absolutely get medical treatment before you leave town. Not only will this help prevent any unnecessary complications from your injuries, but it will also help significantly with your claim for financial compensation. If you wait until you get home to seek treatment, the insurance companies may argue that your medical records do not adequately establish the cause of your injury.
Flying with an untreated injury can also be dangerous in some cases. For example, if you suffered a concussion in your accident, it might be safe to fly, but it also might not. Your doctor may recommend that you rest and allow your injury to heal before getting on a plane and flying home.
Will I Need to Stay in Fort Lauderdale to Deal with My Accident Claim?
No, once you receive treatment, you do not need to stay in Fort Lauderdale to deal with your accident claim. You can deal with your claim at home while you rest and recover.
Will I have to Come Back to Fort Lauderdale to Appear in Court?
Probably not, but maybe. In the vast majority of cases, personal injury claims settle out of court. This is true for claims involving vehicle collisions, slips, trips and other accidents. So, more likely than not, you will be able to resolve your case without ever going to court.
But, if you don’t receive a fair settlement offer, your attorney might need to take your case to trial in Florida. In this scenario, you might need to appear as a witness in court. However, if this happens (which it probably won’t), it won’t happen for a very long time, and you will be able to make arrangements well in advance with your attorney.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida?
It costs nothing out of pocket to hire a personal injury lawyer in Florida. You can hire a lawyer to represent you on a contingency-fee basis, which means you only pay if you win. If your claim is successful, your attorney’s fees will be calculated as a percentage of your settlement or verdict.
Contact Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney Joseph Maus for Free
Were you injured while visiting Fort Lauderdale? If so, you can contact us 24/7 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights. We have been handling car accidents, cruise ship accidents, slip-and-fall incidents, and other accident cases locally since 1993. To speak with attorney Joseph Maus about your situation in confidence, call 855-999-5297 or tell us how we can reach you online now.