According to VISIT FLORDIA Research, 122.4 million visitors came to Florida in 2021, which was a decrease from the record 131.1 million visitors in 2019. This decrease can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions. However, tourism numbers in 2022 are on the rise and are expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels.
Many tourists decide to vacation in Florida to relax, enjoy our many beaches, and/or visit theme parks. Unfortunately, instead of leaving relaxed, some tourists leave injured after being involved in an accident (that was caused by someone else’s reckless actions).
Common Types of Accidents Involving Vacationers
Accidents that tourists are often involved in can include but are not limited to:
- Car accidents.
- Pedestrian accidents.
- Public transportation or rideshare accidents.
- Golf cart or bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents.
- Recreational sport or activity accidents.
- Insufficient security incidents.
- Amusement Park or resort negligence.
Common Injuries Sustained in Tourist Accidents
After being involved in any of the aforementioned accidents, vacationers can suffer injuries including but not limited to:
- Back, spine, or spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones or fractures
- Cuts and laceration to the face, arms, and body
- Head and neck injuries, such as whiplash, neck fractures, or a herniated disc
- Internal organ damage, such as a ruptured or bruised spleen, liver, or internal bleeding
- Soft tissue injuries, such as torn or bruised ligaments, muscles, or tendons
- Traumatic brain injuries, such as a concussion, contusions, intracranial hematomas, or hemorrhages
Damages Available in a Tourist Accident Claim
If you are injured while vacationing in Florida, you can fight to be compensated for your economic and non-economic damages, which can include but is not limited to:
- Lost wages
- Hospital or pharmaceutical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Costs associated with traveling to and from medical appointments
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost earning capacity
Proving Negligence in Tourist Accident Claim
Florida Civil Jury Instructions § 401.4 defines negligence as the:
- failure to exercise the care that a reasonable person would exercise in a similar situation, and/or
- behaving in a way that a reasonable person would not or failing to act or do something that a reasonable person would in a similar situation.
To demonstrate negligence occurred, you will need to prove that the following four elements are satisfied.
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. This is a legal duty that the at-fault individual owed to the victim. For example, an amusement park or resort owes its guests and attendants a duty of care and should their rides, rooms, and the park are safe.
- The defendant deviated from that duty of care. You must prove that the at-fault party breached their duty of care. For example, let’s say you were injured after a rollercoaster derailed; you will need that the park staff and/or ride attendants did not properly inspect or maintain the tracks.
- Their breach of duty of care caused your injuries. The at-fault party’s breach must be the cause of your injuries.
- You have suffered damages. You will need to prove that you suffered economic and/or non-economic damages because of the accident.
Comparative Negligence in Personal Injury Claims
Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that you can file a claim regardless of your fault in the accident. However, your recoverable damages will be reduced based on your percentage of fault (Florida Statute § 768.81). Practically, this means that if your damages total $50,000 and you are 50% at fault for the accident, you will only receive $25,000 if your case is successful.
The Rights of Injured Foreigners
If you have traveled to Florida internationally, you have the same right to pursue compensation that Floridians and U.S. citizens do. However, it is important to note that vacationers from abroad may experience unique challenges, including but not limited to:
- Having to return to Florida if your case goes to trial. Some cases are settled in negotiations; however, if your case proceeds to litigation, you will likely need to make court appearances and testify. In some instances, your travel expenses will be included in the calculated damages.
- Needing translation services. If you obtain continued care and treatment abroad, your medical records (as well as other key evidence) may need to be translated for the courts.
Hurt on Vacation? Contact Our Firm Today.
At The Wiseman Law Firm, we can work to maximize your compensation and minimize your liability in a tourism accident personal injury claim. Attorney Wiseman has over 20 years of legal experience and previously worked as an insurance defense lawyer; he can now use his insider information to help clients create a solid legal strategy and gain leverage during negotiations or litigation. You must reach out to our firm as soon as possible because claimants only have 4 years from their date of injury to file a suit (see Florida Statute § 95.11).
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in a tourism accident, call (407) 708-9127 or complete this online form to schedule a consultation with our firm. We can help you fight to receive the compensation you deserve.