Know Your Rights: Can You Sue If Injured Abroad?

Whether you're on your very first trip out of the country or like to think of yourself as a seasoned jet-setter, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye while traveling abroad. From serious injuries sustained in a car accident to slipping and falling in a shopping mall, if you're hurt in an accident while traveling out of the country you may feel afraid and helpless.

Chances are you'll also be facing a huge medical bill or you may even have to cut your trip short as well. What are your options when it comes to seeking compensation for your injuries and other damages incurred?

Can You Sue When Injured While Traveling Outside of the US?

Generally speaking, if the other person involved in the accident is at fault you can sue. The part where things may get a bit complicated for you and your personal injury attorney to figure out is where to file the claim. In the US, it is required that the court have jurisdiction over the defendant in the case before any type of judgement can be made.

A court may have personal jurisdiction over a defendant if one or more of the following are true:

  • The defendant lives and/or does business within the jurisdiction
  • They were physically present in the jurisdiction
  • Minimum contact is maintained with the jurisdiction
  • The defendant consents to the personal jurisdiction

This means the only way you will be able to sue someone from abroad in the US is if they have traveled to your home state at one point in time, conducted business in your state, have had a minimum level of contact with your home state, or they consent to personal jurisdiction in your state. This also means that if the defendant doesn't meat any one of these criteria you will have to file the court claim in the country where the accident took place. 

Did You Sign a Contract?

If you were injured while traveling with a tour company, excursion group, hotel or other company where you signed a contract, the terms of service may state exactly where can and cannot file a claim in the event that you decide to sue. As always, it is important to read the fine print before signing any contract. If you or a loved one has been injured while traveling out side of the US, be sure to speak with your local personal injury attorney for more information.