Terrific weather. Miles of gorgeous coastline. Endless cultural offerings. Fabulous restaurants. Exciting theme parks. Terrific shopping. Arts, music, sports. When you vacation in Florida, you can enjoy all of this and much more. More than 100 million visitors flock to the Sunshine State annually, and while most experience the trip of a lifetime, some are injured while on vacation — and those injuries can mar even the perfect Florida weather.
What happens if you are injured while on vacation?
Accidents Don’t Take Vacations
No one is immune; accidents can strike anyone – and at any time. Even during vacations. Common incidents include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Watercraft (e.g. boat, jet ski, etc.) accidents
- Renting defective equipment (e.g scooters, personal watercraft)
- Slip and falls at restaurants, hotels, etc.
- Food poisoning
In some cases, the influx of tourists increases the odds of injuries. For example, March is the most dangerous month when it comes to car accidents – and this is prime time for vacationers looking to enjoy Spring Break.
Suffering an injury is not easy in any circumstances. Dealing with the physical pain, interruption of your plans, and financial impact while you are on vacation, though, adds another layer of complexity. What do you need to know to ensure your rights are fully protected if you’re injured while on vacation in Florida?
Florida Law: What Visitors Need to Know
There are two key pieces of information to understand about personal injury law:
- Statute of Limitation. This refers to the window of time in which you need to file a claim. In Florida, you have four years from the time of the accident order to file a claim for most personal injury incidents. If you are taking action against a governmental entity (e.g. the city of West Palm Beach), this is shortened to three years. In cases of wrongful death, the timeline is even more accelerated, and you must file within two years.
- Jurisdiction. This indicates the area in which the accident/injury occurred and the laws that will be applied. When you are injured while on vacation in the Sunshine State, your case will be handled by the Florida court system.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured While On Vacation?
Whether you were in a car accident or you slipped and fell in a restaurant parking lot while on vacation in Florida, it is important to take the following steps:
- Make sure you are safe. If in an accident, get to a place of safety immediately. Report the accident to law enforcement, if necessary. If you receive an injury at a business, report it to the management.
- Document the scene. It is safe to do so, take photos or video of the scene of the accident. If you’ve experienced whiplash from a car accident, for example, take pictures of your car, any other vehicles involved, the road conditions, etc. This can be pivotal in proving that a third party was at fault.
- Gather witness information. You cannot compel people to provide their names and contact numbers. But you can respectfully request this information. It can be helpful if you decide to pursue a claim. Your attorney can contact these individuals on your behalf to get their account of the incident.
- Seek medical attention. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, the adrenaline is pumping, and you may not fully feel the effects of injuries. For this reason, it is critical that you get help as soon as you can. You do not want issues like internal bleeding or organ damage to go undiagnosed and untreated. And, in a legal sense, you also do not want injuries to go undocumented. If you decide to take legal action, medical reports are key pieces of evidence.
- Contact a personal injury attorney in South Florida. Dealing with an injury while you are away from home is stressful. An experienced lawyer can help alleviate the headaches. One crucial way a lawyer does this is by interacting with the insurance companies on your behalf. Often, insurers offer an initial “low ball” settlement offer, hoping you’ll take it and go away. But this is rarely in your best interest. Consult with a Florida personal injury lawyer to make sure all offers are fair and just. Your rights must be upheld, and you can be sure the insurance companies aren’t looking out for you!
No one wants an injury to ruin their fun in the sun. If you have been hurt by the carelessness, recklessness, or negligence of a third party, do not hesitate to contact the LaBovick Law Group for a free consultation. We are here to help.