If your client gets into a legal fix while traveling abroad, you’ll need to act fast. Perhaps they are involved in a car accident or get injured while in a foreign country — how can you assist them?
Legal disputes can be more difficult when a client is injured or involved in an accident in another country for several reasons. Here are a few things to consider and be aware of when your client travels abroad. We will also provide some information on what to do if they need to file a lawsuit in another country.
Make Legal Connections in that Country
If your client is faced with having to file outside the U.S, then it could greatly benefit you to make legal connections in that country. Contact other lawyers to gain a better understanding of their country’s legal rules. Although it may be out of your own power to represent your client, you can still assist them by finding a trusted foreign lawyer to represent them.
For example, let’s say that your client has an accident while in Norway, and they are injured. You probably don’t know what the legalities are in Scandinavia off the top of your head.
The best thing to do is research attorneys and law offices in Norway with top-grade credentials and seem to be trusted, quality firms. A law firm such as Advokat Stavanger in Stavanger, Norway, could provide you and your client with the needed advice and even represent your client if need be.
Research the Country’s Legal System
Look into that specific country’s legal system to find out if they will accept an injury or accident claim, as well as all their legal procedures. You will also want to find out if your client must file for a lawsuit in that country or if they can file for one in the United States.
You must watch out for loopholes in other legal systems. The term “forum non-conveniens” is a legal concept that protects people in foreign countries from having a claim brought against them in the U.S.
This term suggests that it is inconvenient to have a legal issue in the United States for anyone who is not a resident. Therefore, this legal concept argues that someone should not be sued outside their own country. If this rebuttal is successful, your client must file a lawsuit in the country that their incident occurred in.
Contact the U.S Embassy for Further Guidance
The United States Embassy can help, as well. While they do not legally aid anyone, you can find a list of attorneys on their website.
Lookup a lawyer for your client if you have one in mind, or review the examples the Embassy has listed along with each one’s professional credentials, language capabilities, and expertise. Bear in mind that the lawyers themselves provide this information, so it might be a good idea to research thoroughly before your client makes their final decision.
What Your Client Should Know About Filing Lawsuits in Another Country
If you want to give your clients beneficial advice for traveling abroad, ensure that they understand that filing for a lawsuit in another country will depend on the country’s legal system.
If your client wants to sue a foreign company, business establishment, or person, this will depend on if the country recognizes the same claims and compensations that the U.S. does. Some countries do not even offer the same claims. As the U. S Department of Justice states about international legal systems, every foreign legal system will differ from that of the United States’.
For example, New Zealand no longer accepts personal injury lawsuits and instead has a national compensation system for any accident victim. In other countries, suing is practically unheard of because the loser must pay the other party’s legal fees.
It is best to give all your clients a forewarning about filing international lawsuits.