Tourists mean money for Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa County and the Florida Panhandle. They can also mean problems on the roadways because they are unfamiliar with the area. Wrong turns, abrupt movements and speeding are common among out-of-state drivers.

You want to hold someone accountable when an accident injures you. You deserve compensation for your injuries and suffering.

No fault

You may already know Florida has “no fault” motor vehicle insurance and compensation laws. Tourists likely have no idea what this means, but their ignorance is no excuse.

You file a claim with your insurance company for injuries. If your injuries are severe or permanent, you can file a claim against the other driver. You also file a claim against him or her and his or her insurance company for vehicle damage.

Florida does not have many limitations on compensation. The deadline for your claim is four years from the date of the accident.

The other driver’s fault

If your case goes to trial, a judge or jury decides fault. Florida is a “pure comparative negligence” state. That means the judge or jury will calculate percentages of fault. If they determine you are 25% at fault, you pay 25% of the award.

Key to proving another driver is at fault can be a police report. The officer who investigates the accident may issue a ticket. Even if he or she does not, the officer may cite a reason for the accident, which can help determine liability. Get a copy of the report.

A faulty system

The fault in some accidents is obvious. Blame in other accidents is less clear. It can be your word against the word of the other driver, and few people willingly admit they are at fault in an accident. Evidence can be especially important to make a case when a crash involves an out-of-state tourist.