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4 Things International Students Should Know About U.S. Personal Injury Law
Posted By: Brooke Chaplan on September 20, 2019

It can be extremely stressful to be in a new country, especially if you are speaking another language and dealing with a whole different culture.
International students may be confused about how the healthcare and personal injury system work in the United States, especially as the United States does not provide socialized health care like many other countries do. Here are some of the pertinent facts when it comes to being injured while studying in the US.

Understand the Terminology

A personal injury case is generically classified as any injury that you received as a result of someone else’s negligence. This leaves a lot of ground to cover in order for you to receive compensation for your injuries. If you were injured on someone else’s property, or even on school property, you could potentially receive compensation to help cover those costs.
Personal liability, on the other hand, is a term used in insurance plans that refers to the amount your own insurance will cover you for accidents or injuries that you are legally responsible for. It also may cover your expenses for lost, damaged, or stolen property or if someone else sues you for an accident you caused. If someone else caused an accident or injury to you, you are able to lay a claim for their insurance to pay for the cost of your treatment instead of using your own insurance. It’s important to know the ins and outs of your own healthcare insurance in case you have to pay the cost yourself, but also, you should know that if someone else is legally at fault, you may not have to pay for anything at all.
Most personal injury cases weigh your personal liability against the liability of the other party. So in the event of a car accident, for example, you will want to take pictures and document details of the accident. In the event of any other accident, talk to and get statements or witnesses willing to speak on your behalf, and take pictures of your injury.

Check Visa Requirements

The visa that you obtained to study in the US probably already listed out requirements for how you should go about purchasing health insurance before your arrival. You should check to ensure that you’ve met all of these requirements so that you aren’t caught off-guard by an injury or medical bill. This will save you from having additional financial burden placed on you in case you are injured. There are different levels of insurance to consider as well. Do you have an extensive plan, or just the bare minimum to cover preventative care?
Deductibles and co-pays should also be taken into account in order to maintain your budget. In order to get a visa in the first place, you will need to demonstrate that you have health insurance in the first place. An important thing to note about the US healthcare is that emergency room visits will always cost more than a regular doctor visit or even a visit to an Urgent Care facility. If you aren’t in current danger, opt for the Urgent Care instead of an expensive ambulance ride.

Inquire About School Insurance

Some universities offer their international students health insurance just for enrolling with them. At many universities, a specific health insurance plan is required, especially with international students. If you are sponsored by an organization, they may have their own health insurance policy. Visit International Student Insurance if you do not have insurance provided by either school or sponsor, and they can help you find a suitable plan. Check with the school so that you can find out if this is one of the incentives that they would be willing to offer you. It can save you a great deal of money not having to pay your own insurance premiums. As with purchasing your own insurance, verify where you can receive treatment if you were to be injured. Many schools have on-site medical facilities to deal with minor injuries. School health insurance usually covers general medical care, and may also cover more sophisticated services like X-rays and specialists for unique cases. The details will depend on your university. Sometimes emergency and injury cases are not covered by simple student health care, so take the time to find out what is and isn’t covered.

Study Your Case

Each personal injury case is slightly different. There are certain categories that they can be lumped into, but the specifics will vary. For instance, if you were harmed in a motor vehicle accident, a personal injury attorney can help you to ensure that you’re making the right decision about how to proceed with your case. Most attorneys offer free consultations and take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means they get paid a percentage of the fee you win after a trial. Essentially, you don’t have to pay them beforehand and they only get part of the money they win for you. The amount of financial recompense that can be received depends on the level of your need. For example, medical bills should be a given when you file a personal injury claim. There may be other factors that can contribute to the amount that you should receive. You may have to drop classes and redo them another semester. This can add to your tuition costs. Consider adding these expenses to your claim so that you can receive fair compensation for your losses.
Navigating a personal injury claim can be tricky. Knowing the right way to go about it means that you may require some help to get you through the process. Remember that your school should offer some assistance to help you understand your options and that most lawyers will give you consultations free of charge. Keep calm and be aware that even as an international student, you have options and legal rights.
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