Accidents in USA Compensation Claims
The USA is a popular holiday destination among UK citizens, both for a holiday and for work, and while the US is largely a safe destination for travellers, things do sometimes go wrong. When they do, it is vital that you seek recompense with the guidance of experienced accidents abroad solicitors, such as the team at JMW.
How JMW Can Help
The US attracts many British tourists. Florida remains a popular destination for family holidays, while cities on the East Coast, including New York and Washington, make for great short breaks, and the West Coast sunshine attracts many of us for fly-drive holidays through California and Nevada. Many of the larger cities are prime locations for business trips or working holidays. Unfortunately due to this, we commonly see enquiries relating to:
- Road traffic accidents
- Slips, trips and falls
- Accidents at work
- Aviation accidents
- Accidents caused by defective equipment
Laws vary from state to state, and compensation can be much higher than those seen in England as the awards are often decided by a Jury and courts can award additional money to an injured person to punish the responsible party for their behaviour - this is known as punitive damages. Here at JMW, we have links with the American Association of Justice, meaning we can work together with specialist claimant personal injury lawyers across the USA who have your best interests at heart and can highlight cases where punitive damages may be awarded.
Most claims can be brought to a conclusion without the need for you to attend court. We can arrange video conferencing to enable you to speak with an American lawyer as necessary, and even if court proceedings are required in the USA, you may be able to give your witness evidence by video deposition from home.
What Our Clients Say
What are common types of USA accident claims?
Accidents abroad that are typically claimed for can include, but are not limited to:
- Road traffic accidents: this could be as a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, or a passenger or driver in a vehicle.
- Slips, trips, and falls: these accidents could occur in a variety of locations such as hotels, restaurants, public pavements, and tourist attractions.
- Work-related accidents: these occur when someone is working abroad, either temporarily or permanently.
- Accidents on public transport: these can involve buses, trains, trams, or boats.
- Accidents at sea: these can occur on cruises or ferries, including injuries due to hazardous conditions.
- Accidents while participating in sports or recreational activities: these could include skiing accidents, scuba diving incidents, or accidents at a swimming pool.
It is important to remember that if you have been involved in an accident abroad, seeking legal advice is vital, as the regulations and laws might be different from those in the UK.
Am I Eligible to Make a Compensation Claim for an Accident in the USA?
Eligibility to claim compensation for an accident in the USA generally depends on whether you can prove that another party was at fault for the accident and that you suffered injuries or losses as a result.
Factors that can affect your eligibility include the nature of the accident, the laws of the particular US state where the accident occurred, and the circumstances of the incident.
It is also worth noting that time limits for making a claim, known as the 'statute of limitations', can vary - between one and four years. This makes it crucial to act promptly.
Given the complexity of such cases, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice to understand your eligibility. Our experienced team at JMW Solicitors can provide a comprehensive review of your case and guide you through the process.
How do I make a compensation claim after an accident in the USA?
It is important that you seek specialist legal advice from the outset, as you may have a choice whether to pursue your claim in England or in the USA, and it’s important you are able to make an informed decision about this. For example, compensation may be higher in the USA, but rules about legal costs are more generous in England. Our specialist team can guide you through the process. We often act as co-counsel with a specialist American lawyer to ensure we can achieve the best result for you.
What evidence do I need to support my accident claim?
The evidence you need to support your accident claim can vary based on the specifics of your case. However, here are some typical forms of evidence that can be beneficial:
- Medical records: these provide proof of the injuries you sustained and the treatment you received. They are a crucial part of establishing the impact of the accident on your health.
- Accident report: if the accident was reported to the police or another authority, this report can be valuable evidence.
- Photos and videos: these can document the accident scene, your injuries and any property damage.
- Witness statements: witnesses to the accident can provide statements detailing what they saw, which may support your claim.
- Travel and accommodation records: these can show that you were in the location where the accident happened at the relevant time.
- Financial documents: receipts, invoices and other documents can demonstrate the financial losses you have suffered, such as medical expenses, lost earnings and other out-of-pocket costs.
The accident claims experts at JMW Solicitors will guide you through the entire process of identifying sources of evidence and collecting them.
Can I begin my USA accident claim while I am still abroad?
You can start the process of your USA accident claim while you are still abroad. In fact, it is advisable to act promptly due to potentially shorter time limits for making a claim in the USA. This can include gathering evidence, seeking medical treatment, and notifying relevant parties, such as your insurance provider.
To formally begin your claim, you would typically need to engage with a legal professional who understands the complexities of international personal injury law. Our team at JMW Solicitors can help initiate the claim process, regardless of whether you are still abroad or have returned to the UK.
How Long Do I Have to Make My USA Holiday Accident Claim?
The time limit for making your claim varies, depending on the circumstances of your case. The usual English law time limit of three years may well not apply and we would urge you to contact us as soon as possible so that we can investigate the time limit that applies.
How Long Does It Take to Resolve an Accident Claim in the USA?
The timeframe to resolve an accident claim in the USA can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, the clarity of fault, and the willingness of the parties to reach a settlement. In straightforward cases where liability is clear and injuries are not severe, a claim might be resolved within a few months.
However, for more complex cases, particularly where serious injuries are involved or where liability is disputed, the process can take considerably longer, potentially several years. Furthermore, if a case proceeds to trial, this can also extend the timeframe significantly.
Given the complexity of pursuing a personal injury claim abroad, it is beneficial to work with experienced legal professionals like our team at JMW Solicitors, who can guide you through the process and provide an estimated timeframe based on the specifics of your case.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect to Receive Following a Successful Accident Abroad Claim?
The amount of compensation you can expect to receive following a successful USA accident claim will depend on various factors. These include:
- The severity of your injuries
- The impact of the accident on your quality of life
- Any financial losses you have incurred (such as medical expenses or lost earnings)
- The laws of the particular US state where the accident occurred
Compensation amounts can vary significantly between the USA and the UK. It is also possible to claim for certain types of damages in the USA that are not typically recoverable under UK law.
Due to these complexities, it is difficult to provide an exact estimate without understanding the specifics of your case. However, our team of experienced solicitors at JMW can review your case and provide an estimate based on the unique circumstances of your accident and injury.
Can I Make a No Win, No Fee Compensation Claim?
We approach all of our personal injury compensation claims with a no win, no fee agreement. This means that you will not have to pay any legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful. If you win, your legal costs will usually be a percentage of the compensation awarded, which we will agree with you before the claim process begins.
FAQs About Accidents in the USA
Can I claim compensation for an accident in the USA if I am a UK resident?
As a UK resident, you may be able to claim compensation for an accident that occurred in the USA. However, it is crucial to understand that such cases can be complex due to differences in legal systems, jurisdictions, and the nature of accident laws in America compared to those in the UK.
Typically, the claim will need to be brought in the USA, and it will be subject to US laws and procedures. It is also worth noting that the time limits for making a claim (statute of limitations) can be significantly shorter in the USA, so prompt action is essential.
Compensation amounts can differ greatly between the two countries, and in some instances, it may be possible to claim for damages in the USA that would not be possible in the UK.
As such cases involve intricate cross-jurisdictional matters, meaning it is highly advisable to seek the assistance of legal experts who are experienced in dealing with accidents abroad. Our personal injury team at JMW Solicitors is well-equipped to handle such claims. We can guide you through the complex process, helping you understand your rights and working to secure the compensation you deserve.
Can I still make a claim if the accident was partially my fault?
You can still make a claim even if the accident was partially your fault. This is known as contributory negligence. However, it is important to note that your degree of fault will likely affect how much compensation you can recover.
In many US states, a doctrine known as 'comparative negligence' is applied. This means that your compensation may be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. For example, if you are found to be 30% at fault, your compensation might be reduced by 30%.
However, some states apply a 'contributory negligence' rule, which could prevent you from receiving any compensation if you are found to be at fault, even slightly.
As these rules can vary significantly from state to state, it is important to seek legal advice. Our team at JMW Solicitors has the expertise to help you understand how these rules may apply to your case and can provide appropriate advice on the best way forward.
Do I need US health insurance to access healthcare in the US?
While it is not mandatory for visitors to have US health insurance to access healthcare in the USA, it is strongly recommended. The cost of healthcare in the USA can be significantly higher than in the UK, and without appropriate insurance cover, you may be liable for these costs.
The NHS does not cover healthcare costs incurred abroad, and the USA does not have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK. This means that any medical treatment you receive in the USA will likely need to be paid for.
Before travelling, it is recommended to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes adequate healthcare coverage for the USA. It is important to ensure that your policy covers all potential medical costs, including repatriation to the UK if necessary.
Always review the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy carefully to ensure you are fully aware of what is and is not covered. If you are unsure, consult with an insurance expert.
What should I do if I have been involved in an accident in America?
If you have been involved in an accident in America, there are certain steps you should follow to safeguard your rights and maximise your chances of successfully claiming compensation. It is always advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible, but before you do so, here are some important steps to follow:
- Seek medical attention: immediately after the accident, your health should be your primary concern. Even if your injuries appear minor, it is critical that you seek medical attention to accurately document the extent and nature of your injuries.
- Inform the police: if you are involved in an accident, especially one involving a vehicle, inform the police. They will create an official report of the incident, which can be instrumental in building your claim.
- Gather evidence: if it is safe to do so, take photographs of the accident scene and your injuries. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Report the incident: inform your travel insurance provider about the accident as soon as you can. Delaying this could result in your claim being denied.
- Do not admit fault: in the heat of the moment, you may feel compelled to apologise or accept blame. However, it is crucial not to admit fault until the full circumstances of the incident are known and you have obtained legal advice.
- Maintain records: keep all documentation and receipts relating to your accident, including medical records and expenses, travel changes, loss of earnings, etc.
- Contact JMW Solicitors: once you have returned to the UK, get in touch with our personal injury team at JMW Solicitors. Our team has experience in handling personal injury claims resulting from accidents in the USA, and we can guide you through the complex international laws involved.
Remember, every accident and personal injury claim is unique, and the steps outlined above are a general guide. It is always in your best interest to seek advice from legal professionals like JMW Solicitors, who can provide you with bespoke advice tailored to your circumstances and help you to claim compensation to cover your damages.
What should I do if I am injured in the USA while on a package holiday?
If you are injured in the USA while on a package holiday, it is important to follow certain steps:
- Seek medical help: your health should be your priority. Get medical help as soon as possible, even if you think your injuries are minor.
- Report the accident: notify your holiday representative and the travel company about the accident as soon as you can. Make sure the incident is logged in an accident report.
- Document the incident: if possible, take photographs or videos of where the accident happened, particularly if it indicates a hazard or negligence on the part of the package holiday company.
- Gather evidence: collect the names and contact details of any witnesses. Keep all receipts and documents related to the accident and your subsequent medical treatment.
- Contact insurance provider: notify your travel insurance provider about the incident at the earliest opportunity.
- Legal advice: upon returning to the UK, contact a legal expert. If your accident happened while on a package holiday, you might have a claim against the travel company. JMW Solicitors has a team of experienced personal injury solicitors who can assist you with this process.
Read our guide here for more information.
What phone number should I call if I am injured in the USA?
In the event of an emergency in the USA, you should dial 911. This number will connect you to all emergency services, including the police, fire department and ambulance service. It is free to call, operates 24 hours a day, and can be dialled from any phone.