Injured away from home: 3 keys to handling a personal injury case that occurred away from your home region
To have your hard-earned vacation cut short by an injury is nothing short of devastating. Not only are you now unable to enjoy your time in the sun or your planned adventures, you may also be facing a massive medical bill.
Recouping medical costs when you’re injured abroad is more difficult than when you are in your home country. To this end, it’s important that you understand what will be required of you both financially and legally to sue someone who has injured you abroad or who was negligent in causing your injury.
Here are 3 key scenarios in which you may be injured abroad and need to sue:
Suing in the United States or in the country you were injured
To be able to sue in the United States, a court must have jurisdiction over the defendant to render any type of actionable judgment. Courts must have both personal and subject matter jurisdiction to hear a case. Personal jurisdiction refers to the fact that a defendant must have:
- Been physically present in the jurisdiction
- Lives in or does business in the jurisdiction
- Consents to personal jurisdiction, or
- Has some form of minimum contact with the jurisdiction
Therefore, if the defendant responsible for your injury has never left the country they call home, has never visited your state, done business in your state, and refuses to consent to being used by your state, you will have to sue them abroad where the injury happened because the United States courts won’t have jurisdiction.
Suffering an injury while working abroad
Workers’ compensation laws can vary widely from country to country or be downright non-existent. Ultimately, it is up to a worker’s employer to cover illness or injury, so long as the employee was within the scope of employment when they were injured.
If you are working abroad and suffer an injury due to your employers’ negligence or breach of duty, you may have grounds to sue your employer to recoup your medical costs and cover lost time and permanent disability. If your employer denies your coverage or claim, this could mean extravagant medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, and perhaps permanent disability that will affect you for the rest of your life.
It can be intimidating to sue your employer when you were injured abroad, which is why hiring a personal injury attorney while working abroad may be the best solution.
Suffering an injury while on a holiday package
If you are traveling abroad and are going on a package deal, you’re in good company. Many people travel abroad using package deals that offer them a combination of hotels, flights, and car rentals. If you suffer an injury or serious illness while on a package holiday, the resort or travel company that provided you the package may cover you. However, certain criteria must be met to make sure you have the right to make a claim.
For your package organizer to be held liable, the injury must occur at your hotel complex or on a hotel provided excursion, or during a service that was provided as part of your package. Holiday providers must always have their customers’ safety as their number one priority, but you still must prove that your hotel complex was negligent in a way that contributed to your injury. If you were off resort and not on a hotel provided excursion, or if you were on hotel grounds but breaking the safety rules, you will most likely not be covered.