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Can a Non-US Citizen file a Personal Injury Lawsuit in a Florida court?

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The short answer is yes, in the United States, Citizens and Non-Citizens are entitled to the same remedies provided by the Courts jurisdiction. The Courts jurisdiction is their ability to hear the case. Jurisdiction is typically derived from the location where the majority of the events took place. Citizenship is often not an obstacle when bringing a lawsuit in a Florida Court. Nonetheless, being a non-citizen may affect the progression of a case, and at times, the outcome of a personal injury case.

How can citizenship affect the progression of a case?
Most personal injury cases are brought in the State Court where (a) the defendant resides; or (b) where the majority of the incidents took place. However, being a non-citizen gives rise to several strategic disadvantages. For example, the opposing counsel might try to disrupt the progression of the case by removing it to federal court, or they may attempt to dismiss the case due to the availability of a more appropriate forum.

How can citizenship affect the outcome of a case?
In Florida Personal Injury cases, the Plaintiff is often entitled to two forms of remedies: (1) economic damages; and (2) non-economic damages. Economic damages are the ascertainable financial damages in which the Court can provide redress; and non-economic damages are implemented to redress any intangible harm suffered by the Plaintiff.

Economic damages consist of medical expenses and any lost wages that incurred as a result of the accident. A non-citizen is entitled to any and all damages that are a direct result from the accident. However, being a non-citizen may make it difficult to prove a claim for lost wages.

More specifically, in Florida, a Plaintiff must be able to provide documentation to prove a lost wage claim. Being a non-citizen may affect the Plaintiff’s ability to provide tangible evidence that meets the burden for a lost wage claim.

What should you do?
If you are injured while visiting Florida, or even temporarily residing in the State, do not hesitate to contact a local attorney and review your options. Florida prohibits foreign attorneys from practicing law in the State, therefore, it is important to find representation that is knowledgeable, and comfortable with the laws of the State. As a non-citizen, you will want to find experienced attorneys who are willing to assist you every step of the way. A good attorney will be able to provide a detailed explanation on the pre-trial process, the likelihood of litigation, and the type of damages you may be entitled to. Do not hesitate, if you have been injured in a car accident, call a Florida Personal Injury Attorney!

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