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Do I need to be a U.S. resident to have a personal injury case?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2022 | Car Accidents |

People in the United States get hurt for all kinds of reasons. They might end up in a car crash while commuting to work or break a bone because of a defective tool. Medical malpractice, job injuries and intentional harm inflicted during criminal activity are all situations that might lead to someone pursuing a personal injury claim.

Florida state law empowers those harmed by the actions or negligence of others to hold people accountable in civil court. There is a bit of confusion around these rights. Some people mistakenly believe that lawsuits aren’t possible if there is insurance coverage available or if the state prosecutes the person at fault.

Given that United States citizens often don’t understand their rights under personal injury laws, it’s little surprise that people visiting the country find these rules confusing. Do you need to be a United States citizen or resident to take someone to civil court?

Federal law protects the rights of visitors

There is a federal statute known as the Alien Tort Act that protects the rights of anyone in the United States to potentially file a lawsuit in accordance with federal and state laws. This law applies to immigrant workers, tourists from other countries and even undocumented immigrants.

Those visiting from other countries can file personal injury lawsuits related to medical malpractice, car crashes, defective products and unsafe work environments based on the laws of the state where they get hurt. To successfully pursue a claim, a foreign national would typically need proof of economic losses and of misconduct or negligence on the part of an individual or business.

Domestic representation can help

Especially if you were only in the United States for a vacation, pursuing a lawsuit might seem unrealistic. However, you can cooperate with the Florida state attorney if your injury occurred in Florida to minimize the demands on you.

They can be present in your stead in court. Only in cases where testimony would be necessary would your presence be necessary, and even then, there may be teleconference options so long as your lawyer is physically present in court.

Rather than just assuming you have no rights if you get hurt while visiting the United States, it’s better to look into the situation and explore your options. Filing a personal injury claim can help you limit the lasting consequences you suffer after traveling to the United States and getting hurt.