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Injured Abroad: Top 5 Laws You Need to Know

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Accidents and injuries don't just happen at home -- sometimes they can ruin a vacation or work trip. And while getting hurt anywhere is scary, getting injured abroad can be even more so when you are unfamiliar with foreign hospitals, medical care, or the law.

So if you're gearing up for a Spring Break trip or summer vacation, or picked up an injury while on Winter Break or a Christmas vacation abroad, here are five laws you need to know:

1. Need to Know: Car Accidents in Other Countries

While fender benders in America can be pretty standard, car accident liability can work a little differently in other countries. Hopefully either your current car insurance or the coverage you purchased for your rental car abroad covers any injuries. Whether you can sue another driver for damage may depend on the law in the country where the accident occurred, so you might need to contact a personal injury attorney to find out.

Yes, medical tourism is a thing. Often, Americans seek surgeries and treatments abroad because those medical procedures are restricted or banned in the United States, but those bans are normally there to protect patient safety. As with car accidents, medical malpractice claims can function differently (or not at all) in other countries, so be wary about where, and to which doctors, you go for surgery abroad.

3. If You're Injured Abroad, Can You Sue?

The good news is that many foreign countries have also developed statutes and legal protections for injured parties to recover compensation for their injuries. The not-so-good news is that those legal systems can vary from country to country. So while you can generally sue if you're injured abroad, choosing the right court and the right lawsuit should be left up to an attorney familiar with injury cases in that country.

4. Can I Sue for a Foreign Wrongful Death?

If, god forbid, family member or loved one has been killed abroad, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. And, depending on who is responsible for the death, you may be able to file that claim in the United States. In certain situations, parties have sufficient ties to this country that they can be sued in American courts.

5. Can You Get Worker's Comp for Getting Hurt on Vacation?

While unlikely (and generally unwelcome), every now and then work can intrude on our vacation time. And if it intrudes to the point of injury, you might be able to get workers' compensation for an injury while on vacation. The key is whether the injury is work-related. So if you're injured while on a business trip abroad, or while performing a work function while on vacation abroad, you might want to contact HR about a workers' comp claim.

Personal injury liability laws in other countries can be complicated and navigated a foreign legal system can be difficult, even for trained professionals. If you've been injured abroad, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you.

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