Springtime has come to Southwest Florida and this means tourist season is upon the region once again. Families will travel from all over the world to visit world famous Florida beaches, amusement parks, and landmarks, and this means quite a number of unfamiliar out of towners on local roads. With more drivers on the roads comes more accidents and it’s important to know what to do if you’ve been in an accident involving a Florida tourist.

Florida is one of the most visited states in the United States, with more than 130 million tourists coming for a visit during the average year. The biggest tourist season goes from March 1st for Spring Break all the way through November for those looking to warm up while getting a little break from the strongest of the Florida sun. As you’re navigating Southwest Florida roads this spring and summer, it pays to know what to do in case you find yourself involved in a tourist-involved traffic mishap –

• You can bring a claim against an out-of-state tourist – Whether a tourist is from another state, another country, or driving in a rental car, you can bring a claim against them if the accident causes serious injury warranting a lawsuit. After an accident has occurred, make sure to exchange insurance and personal information with the other motorist involved. This will show what is and isn’t covered by their insurance in the event your injuries go beyond your PIP allowance.

• Florida observes a Long-Arm Statute – In the state of Florida we have something called a Long-Arm Statute. This law makes it so that once a person crosses into the state of Florida they agree to appear in Florida courts if necessary should an accident occur.

• Claims may only be brought on the other driver under certain circumstances – Because Florida is a no-fault insurance state, most Floridians will be filing claims with their own insurance provider even if the opposing driver is from elsewhere. However, if the injuries sustained are considered serious, they may pursue a lawsuit against the negligent driver to make up the cost their PIP does not cover. Disfigurement, disability lasting longer than 90 days, bone fractures, permanent damage to an organ, or a significant bodily limitation are all situations considered severe enough to file against a negligent tourist driver.

• Florida observes comparative negligence – If both parties are determined to be partly at fault for the accident you may have a percentage of fault to work with. This means if you were determined to be 20% at fault for the accident because you were going just a little over the speed limit, you may only be entitled to 80% of your damages.

Keeping Safe During Tourist Season

While some tourists may drive while intoxicated, speed down unfamiliar roads, or do other outwardly negligent things, many are simply new to the area and trying to navigate to their destinations while enjoying vacation. This may mean inconvenient traffic patterns and a greater need for extra diligence while on the road. Leaving a greater amount of space between you and the vehicle in front of you, paying close attention for sudden stops, and avoiding aggressive driving can help you to keep safe while on the road during this year’s busy tourist times.

Keep Protected Should The Worst Happen

If you do find yourself involved in a tourist related accident in Florida your first step should be a call to your local Southwest Florida (Sarasota/Bradenton area) personal injury attorney. For more information about your rights after an auto accident in the state, contact us at JusticePays.com today.