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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Hello, I'm Karla Mitchell. Going through a legal case can be very expensive and challenging. I won't go into details, but I recently underwent my own legal battle that lasted several years. It is finally over and I successfully received a settlement, but I had to spend so much time studying law in order to play my role in my own court case. While I found a great attorney at one point, I felt completely lost initially and I don't want anyone else to experience the same thing. So I decided to create this blog for those who would like to know more about law.


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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

What Happens If You Are Involved In A Car Accident In Another Country?

by Andrew Martin

Whether you've always dreamed of driving on the German Autobahn, or are just trying to find a quick way to get from place to place in another foreign city, you may at some point find yourself operating a vehicle in a foreign country. Once you've gotten used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road or sitting in the "wrong" side of the car, what happens if you're involved in a car accident while traveling in another country? Read on to learn more about your options in such a situation.

Does your primary auto insurance cover you in a foreign country?

The good news is that if your travels have taken you to different countries, your regular old American auto insurance may still provide coverage. In many cases, your insurance coverage should apply to accidents in Canada and Mexico as well as those in the U.S. (Be sure to carefully check your policy and any exclusions before traveling if you don't plan to purchase supplemental insurance.)

Certain insurance companies also have reciprocity with a wider variety of foreign countries. If you frequently travel to a certain region, you may wish to investigate a U.S.-based insurance company that offers coverage for this area to help provide you with additional protection.

What happens if the vehicle you're driving is rented?

In the U.S., you are unable to lawfully rent a vehicle without providing proof of auto insurance. Although many other countries enforce similar regulations, not all do -- so don't assume that the fact that the rental company provided you with a vehicle means that you are covered in the event of an accident.

You may be able to purchase either primary or supplemental auto insurance from the rental agency itself. If you're unsure whether your current insurance policy covers car rental in the specific country you're visiting, be certain to carefully review any insurance policies offered by the rental agency to ensure that they will not only cover any damage to the car if you are struck by an uninsured motorist, but will cover damage to another car and any medical expenses if you are in an at-fault accident.

A final option is to determine whether the credit card used to rent the vehicle offers any type of travel coverage. In many cases, even if your primary auto insurance does provide certain coverages, you may be better served by utilizing your credit card coverage. If you submit a claim to your credit card company, they have no power to increase your auto insurance rates, unlike your auto insurance company.

Are you able to file a lawsuit against the other driver in the U.S.?

If you're involved in an accident in which the other driver is at fault, you may have a legal cause of action against this driver. However, it's unlikely that you can file such a case in a U.S. court unless the other driver is also from the U.S. Although venue provisions vary widely by country, in general, if the other driver is a resident of the country in which the accident took place, proper venue is in this country, rather than your own home country. You may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in the laws of the venue country to assist you in filing such a claim from the United States.

If the other driver involved in the accident is a U.S. citizen and resides in the U.S., you may be able to file your lawsuit in either a federal court in your state or a federal court in the state in which the defendant lives. Keep in mind that the defendant always has the opportunity to contest this venue -- so even if you do file the lawsuit in your home state, the defendant may have the case transferred to his or her home state.

For more information, contact a car accident attorney in person or through their website, such as http://www.sarkisianfleming.com.