What If I Am Hit By a Tourist in Florida?

Florida’s economy depends on tourism. This was true before the Covid pandemic hit, the subsequent shutdowns that followed, and likely will continue to be true once the current pandemic is finally over all across the world.  People came from all over the United States and from other countries to enjoy the sunshine, beaches and the many theme parks in the Sunshine State before the pandemic, and they will do so once the pandemic is finally over.  Visitor numbers to the Sunshine State have started to pick up as the state has opened up in recent weeks from the restrictions that were put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, and tourists and visitors to the Sunshine State have started arriving in droves again.

With Florida fully open and more states and countries across the world also starting to open up and allow foreign travel, tourism in Florida is expected to increase at a blistering pace. Accidents involving tourists and visitors are also expected to pick up as Florida reopens and tourists start flocking to the state once again. Many people visiting from out of state or even the country may be unfamiliar with the roads in Florida or even the basic traffic laws in Florida law.  They may even be used to riding on the opposite side of the road, such as a tourist from England.  On the flip side, Floridians who became used to driving without many cars on the road during the pandemic may have become careless and could cause an accident with a tourist or visitor by failing to exercise proper caution and follow the law as they drive on Florida’s roads.

If someone comes to Florida and injures someone else, he or she can be sued in a Florida court regardless of where the person who caused that accident lives or how short a period of time that person was in Florida for.  This is true regardless of whether that person lives in Alabama, Georgia, Mexico, or France. The same is true if you are a visitor to the Sunshine State and someone injures you in a motor vehicle accident, whether the individual whose negligence caused the accident in which you were injured was from Florida, out of state, or out of the country.  If you were injured in Florida, then Florida’s courts are available for you to seek compensation from the person that injured you, regardless of where he or she may live.  Nevertheless, if you are either a visitor to Florida who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident or a Florida resident injured by a visitor to the state who is injured by someone from out of state, there are certain issues you need to be aware of if you intend to seek compensation from the person that injured you.

Torts Committed by Non-Florida Residents

If you were injured by someone in a motor vehicle accident that took place in Florida, then you can seek to recover for your injuries and damages suffered in that motor vehicle accident in the Florida courts, no matter where the person that caused the accident lives or is from.  The person who hit you committed a tort (an act in which his or her injuries caused injuries to another person) in Florida.  By virtue of choosing to vacation or visit here and then committing such an act, the person is subject to personal jurisdiction (i.e. he or she can be sued) in Florida for any legal proceedings related to that act.  Therefore, if a person from Ohio comes to Florida and causes a motor vehicle accident, but then returns to Ohio after his or her vacation is over, that person can still be sued in Florida for whatever the consequences of the accident he or she caused were.

Other Potential Avenues to Recover For Your Injuries and Damages Suffered in a Florida Motor Vehicle Accident

Given that someone may come to Florida and never return, particularly if he or she knows that he or she caused a motor vehicle accident and is facing a lawsuit, then there also are other avenues that someone who has been a victim of that tourist’s negligence can possibly pursue other than a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident.  Particularly if you are a Florida resident who was injured by a visitor to the state, then the chances are high that the person who injured you in a motor vehicle accident may have been operating a motor vehicle that he or she leased from one of the major rental car companies at the time of the accident.  In that case, the rental car company could potentially be on the hook for renting the car to that individual if he or she did not have the proper experience or licensure prior to that car rental company choosing to entrust one of its cars to that individual.  This could be particularly true if someone came from out of the country from somewhere where driving laws and norms are completely different than in Florida.  Although this may not be a viable option to pursue in every case, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley are not afraid to be creative in seeking to help their clients in recovering full compensation for their injuries and other damages suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence in a motor vehicle accident involving a tourist or visitor to Florida.

Contact Schwed, Adams, & McGinley

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of experience representing the victims of motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury scenarios in Florida. During that time, we have represented numerous individuals from Florida injured in a motor vehicle accident by a tourist from out of state or even outside the country.  We also have represented those who may have been tourists or visitors to the Sunshine State who were injured either by a Florida resident or another tourist.  Regardless of what the scenario, if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in Florida, regardless of whether that person is a Sunshine State resident or was simply visiting from outside the state or even the country at the time of the accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.