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How to handle a car accident with a tourist

Florida's beaches, weather and theme parks are an international draw that make The Sunshine State one of the country's major attractions. Visitors travel south all winter long with AAA predicting 2016's holiday season as one of the busiest travel holidays in recent years. Visit Florida estimates that over 85,000 visitors came to the state this year.

There are also unique risks that come from tourists sharing the highways with local commuters. A car accident is never an easy ordeal, but when the driver and insurance come from elsewhere, interstate driving styles and different insurance agencies create a long distance headache.

What you need to know about a car accident with a tourist driver

The first thing in any accident -- after confirming everyone's safety -- is to get thorough information about the driver and vehicles involved. With an out of state driver that's especially important because it will be harder to connect later on. Make certain to get the driver's name, contact information, insurance information and a license plate for the vehicle.

Don't just gather this info yourself, but confirm that it's included in the police report. A police report is the official data point used to contest an accident so it's vital that police keep detailed records that correctly explain the accident and damages. All damages and injuries should be reported, and keep a record of any auto repair bills and medical issues following the accident.

Each state has different laws and insurance recommendations. Because of the distance and difference, it's likely there will be confusion and disputes between your insurance provider and the other driver's. Although requirements vary from coast to coast, insurance coverage will be honored between states as long as it's a legitimate provider.

Insurance claims, damages and suffering

If you are unsatisfied with your insurance settlement offer, consulting with an attorney to work between agencies and state borders will help simplify the case for you. Navigating through these many legal, financial and scheduling items require both patience and special skills.

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and their offer is likely to serve their own interests before yours, sometimes neglecting key costs that you've experienced through the accident. A drawn out settlement costs them time and money, and they will look to move quickly and not always in your best interests.

Although the other driver may live 1,000 miles away, that doesn't mean they can't be summoned to court. A Florida-based civil lawsuit can cover your losses, which often extend well beyond auto body repair, parts and labor, also including medical recovery and suffering and emotional losses from an accident. Suffering can mean time away from work and friends/family and, in some terrible situations, the wrongful death of a loved one.

On a basic level, an auto accident with an out of state driver isn't much different than if it happened between two local drivers. However, the paper trail gets longer and, along the route to resolution, each bump becomes magnified and more complicated. Personal injury attorneys are experienced in navigating the complex legal roads that follow an accident. When a driver has crossed state lines, it will always add unexpected curves along the way.

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