What To Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident While on Holiday in the US
Being in a car accident is never something a person wants to go through, but it can be especially difficult if you’re on holiday in another country like the United States. Knowing what to do after your accident can make all the difference in whether or not you can get compensation for your injuries and whether not you end up paying out of pocket for the damages and expenses that you incur.
The rules for filing a claim for foreigners in the United States can get confusing and things change based on the state or municipality that the accident occurs in so the amount of compensation you are able to receive will differ from place to place and based on your unique situation.
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Things to Know About Car Accidents in the US
Here are a few things that you need to know about car accidents and getting compensation for your injuries in the United States.
You Are Eligible For Compensation in Most Cases
It’s easy to think that because you are from another country or because you may not have insurance, that if someone hits you in an auto accident, that you are not able to get compensation.
Like we’ve said, the specific rules will vary based on a wide range of factors, but in most cases, the victim in an auto accident is eligible to gain financial compensation of some amount after their accident. You’ll want to hire an attorney in the area of your accident in order to maximize the amount of compensation you receive, as they know the law and what to do for your case.
Each State is Different
Like we touched on before, each state in the US is different in terms of what they allow for compensation and the laws regarding an accident case.
For example, in some cases, all drivers must maintain insurance coverage, even if you are from a foreign country and driving a rental vehicle, you will have paid for some type of insurance coverage. This will help protect you in the event of an accident, but also gives you a means to gain compensation against the at-fault party.
In other cases insurance coverage may not be mandatory, which can complicate the process but does not mean that you are not eligible for compensation.
Each Accident Type is Different
Depending on the nature of the accident, how you may go about compensation can change. For instance, if you are in an accident with an individual while they are driving their personal vehicle, you may be able to recover damages by suing their insurance company.
However, if you are in an accident with a person driving a company vehicle, a rideshare service (like Lyft or Uber) or with a large vehicle such as an 18 wheeler, you may be dealing with the company and not just the individual driver.
This affects not only the type and amount of compensation you may receive, but the difficulty of your case, as dealing with large companies means also dealing with their legal teams. This is why you want to hire an attorney to represent you after your accident.
Types of Compensation You May Receive
While it is difficult to say exactly what your case may be worth, there are some standard things that most people are eligible for in terms of compensation.
One thing to note is that if you file with your own health insurance, you may have to meet a minimal threshold of injury before your coverage will pay out for medical expenses, but if you are seeking compensation from the at-fault party, this rule should not apply.
One of the primary types of compensation that is awarded in most cases is economic compensation. This is compensation for the financial losses that a person suffers after an accident. This includes things like medical bills, travel expenses, legal fees, even lost pay and lost ability to work.
You may also be eligible for non-economic damages like ongoing pain and suffering related to the accident, mental trauma or anguish and the loss of relationships due to the stress of the accident and recovery.
Lastly, if your loved one was killed in the accident, you may be eligible for funeral expenses, loss of companisionship and other losses associated with the death. While this is not something that most people want to think about, nearly 40,000 people are killed in US auto accidents each year.
While we’ve covered some of the things to know if you’re in a car accident in the US, it’s always a good idea to talk with a legal expert immediately after your accident happens to find out what options you have. For sure your digital nomad insurance won’t cover you, so be smart.
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