As we return back to normal more and more after the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, many of us are getting ready to travel again. Maybe you’ll travel to Cape Code for the weekend; or drive down to Newport, Rhode Island; or go to New Hampshire for a weekend of camping and hiking.
Whether your return to travel means catching up on your favorite New England spots, or perhaps a road trip or plane ride to somewhere farther away, it’s important to know that if you are injured or involved in an accident while on vacation you may still have the right to collect damages for an injury even if you don’t live in the state where the accident happened.
While we all want our vacations or time away traveling to go smoothly, vacations are unfortunately not immune from things going wrong. Accidents and injuries can still happen, and due to our lack of familiarity with another state’s roads, you may actually be at a higher risk of an accident while out of state.
Massachusetts Residents’ Potential for Accidents Can Increase while Traveling
Interestingly enough, it’s actually possible to be at a greater risk for being involved in an accident while you’re traveling out of state. Maybe you’re driving more miles than you would if you were home, which can put you at a greater risk of being involved in a car accident. Or maybe you’re doing more adventurous activities than you would at home in Massachusetts, or even something as simple as visiting more places in a day than you typically would. Maybe you’re even out and about more, walking around and exploring new cities, which could put you at greater risk for being involved in a pedestrian accident.
Common Travel Accidents May include:
- Car accidents - whether your personal car, or a rental car.
- Renting a piece of equipment that’s defective such as a jet ski or even a segway.
- Slipping and falling in a Convention Center or Hotel Lobby
- Being injured on a property you’re renting through AirBnB or VRBO.
- Getting injured as a pedestrian while crossing a street.
What to Do If You’re a Massachusetts' Resident Injured While Traveling
Even if the accident happened outside of Massachusetts, we recommend contacting a personal injury lawyer in your state after any out-of-state accident or injury that happened while traveling or on vacation.
Whether you were injured in a car accident, or in a slip and fall accident or any other type of accident; it’s important to get in touch with an attorney who exclusively practices injury and accident law. An injury lawyer is going to be able to give you the advice you need to move forward and will guide you in the right direction.
Call a Massachusetts (or Your Home State) Accident Attorney If Injured While Traveling
Even if you've been hurt out of state, your first call should be to an experienced Massachusetts accident attorney. Most accident and injury cases are settled via negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If an accident claim can get settled via negotiation without a lawsuit, there is no issue with hiring a local attorney in your home state of Massachusetts.
Spada Law Group has helped many clients get settlements for their personal injury cases, even when the accident that caused their injury happened in another state. We’ve even represented a few clients who were injured out of the country.
While Spada Law Group is only licensed to practice law in the state of Massachusetts, our business is to investigate accidents and negotiate with insurance companies - we do this everyday for our clients. We’ve been practicing personal injury law for more than 30 years. If we can’t take your case or think that due to specific circumstances you would be better served by a lawyer in the state you were injured in, chances are we'll know an experienced injury attorney in that state to refer you to as we have an extensive referral network.
What if My Out-of-State Accident Case Turns into a Lawsuit?
If it is apparent from the onset of your accident case that your injuries will require you to enter into a lawsuit in another state, we can recommend a colleague in that state who can help you. Calling a Massachusetts accident lawyer such as Spada Law Group, is always a good place to start because we can help assess if you need someone in another jurisdiction to represent you, or if a Massachusetts attorney can represent you.
Pro Hac Vice: How a Massachusetts Injury Lawyer Can Represent Massachusetts Residents in Out-of-State Courts
Even if your injury case begins with a Massachiusetts attorney but a settlement is not reached, it is still possible for your home-state attorney to represent you in another state’s court of law.
There is a process attorneys can go through to get permission to represent a client in another state’s court. It’s known as a “Pro Hac Vice” admission, which is derived from Latin and means “for or on this occasion only.”
By petitioning the other state’s highest court, an out-of-state attorney can get permission to represent a client in court in that state. Part of the process also requires your home-state attorney to enter into an agreement with a lawyer licensed to practice in the state in which the lawsuit is filed.
Close-to-Home Legal Representation for Out-of-State Injuries
If you’ve been involved in an out of state accident - don’t immediately assume you need to hire an attorney in the state you were injured in.
The best step to take after an accident is to call a local attorney in your home state who exclusively practices personal injury law. They will have contacts and resources to help you through the process. Perhaps they can handle your case, or at least they can advise you on what next steps to take, even if it means connecting you with an attorney in the state you were injured in.
If you live in Massachusetts, but were injured in an accident while traveling - trust Spada Law Group to be your best first call. Most of the time, we can help get your case settled and if we can’t we will make sure you get referred to a trusted colleague in that other state. If we do make a referral to an out of state lawyer for you we can also act as a liaison between you and that other lawyer. We often stay very involved in any case we refer to out of state counsel. This way our clients can feel confident they have a local attorney also looking out for their interests.