Foreign visitors who become accident victims have the same legal rights as residents says Boca Raton car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.
Foreign visitors are critical to the state’s economy. But Florida’s open arms to tourists and visitors can’t always protect them when they become pedestrians or motorists on the state’s often congested and dangerous roadways. Boca Raton car accident lawyer Joe Osborne discusses issues faced by foreign visitors if they become accident victims in a podcast available on YouTube.
The Sun Sentinel reports that in 2013 11.2 million international visitors plus 3.7 million Canadians (or about 10% of the country’s population) visited Florida. When they come they need to cope with the fact that on average there are almost 700 fatalities a year due to car accidents in South Florida. Many foreign tourists get more than they bargained for when they visit the state. Some go home with serious injuries or coping with the trauma of suddenly losing a loved one in an accident.
One of car accident attorney Osborne’s cases involves an Irish couple that were visiting Florida when they became victims of a tragic accident in Miami Dade County. Robert and Adrienne Hammond were driving and while making a legal left turn they were struck on the driver’s side by a speeding truck trying to illegally pass them. The accident fatally injured Mr. Hammond and caused physical and brain injuries to his wife.
Mrs. Hammond had to be airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Due to the accident she suffered a loss of motor function and cognitive abilities. Mrs. Hammond spent a significant amount of time at the hospital and was later transferred to a rehabilitation facility. Once she was well enough she was flown back to Ireland suffering serious, chronic physical and mental limitations.
“The Hammonds reached out to us through a law firm in Ireland. They have two grown sons who obviously were devastated by the loss of their father and by the injuries to their mother,” Osborne says. He says the Irish law firm found him because he and his car accident law firm specialize in representing victims of auto accidents. Osborne answered their many questions about the Hammonds’ legal rights as foreigners.
Osborne says foreign visitors can use the U.S. civil justice system just as citizens can. When a person is injured due the negligence of another they can seek compensation for their injuries through the legal system. “Even though the Hammonds were not citizens of the United States as foreign visitors they have the full rights and privileges that citizens do when they are hurt, especially if it’s in a situation like this,” Osborne says.
Osborne says the Hammonds’ two sons came to Florida and they met to discuss the case. “We developed a plan to bring a lawsuit for the death of Mr. Hammond and the injuries that Mrs. Hammond sustained. We filed that case in Miami Dade County, prosecuted the case and ultimately got a verdict in their favor.” Part of that verdict will help pay for the ongoing care that Mrs. Hammonds will receive in Ireland.
“They need to be protected just like everybody else. The Hammonds were not familiar with our civil justice system but certainly their sons were able to reach out to us and we were able to discuss their options,” Osborne says.
If you or a family member were injured in an auto accident in the South Florida area, whether you’re a U.S. citizen who lives here or a foreign national visiting the area, contact Boca Raton car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.