On September 24, 2015, Phuong Dinh and some of her friends from Vietnam were on a bus chartered by North Seattle College. The bus was supposed to bring the students to the school, but a local novelty attraction turned the pleasant September day into a tragedy.
An attraction called Ride The Ducks offers anyone the opportunity to ride in reconditioned military amphibious vehicles on the open road. The Ride The Ducks company also does upgrades to their vehicles, which the National Transportation Safety Board isn't calling legal, just yet.
On the 24th, one of those custom upgrades failed and the axle on one of the Duck tour vehicles exploded. The driver lost control and crashed into the bus containing the foreign North Seattle College students. Five students on that bus died, but Phuong Dinh survived. Little did she know that her problems were only beginning.
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In New York City, injuries to tourists from all over the United States and all over the world are common. While many of those injuries are the result of someone else's negligence, the victims opt to go home with their injuries and try to get on with their lives instead of suing the negligent party. Is that the right move?
Phuong Dinh's injuries are being treated through her student insurance and her ability to stay in the United States is based on her student visa. But her injuries require long-term rehabilitation, and she is no longer able to be a student. That means that she will be in this country illegally and have no insurance when her paperwork expires in December. She needs a legal expert to get her the funding she needs for treatment, and the proper visitor status to stay in the country.
To make matters worse, no one has come forward to help Phuong Dinh. The bus company, the Ride The Ducks company, the college and even the city of Seattle have offered nothing in the way of guidance or financial assistance. This is just another reason why international tourists do not sue after getting involved in a vehicle accident when in the United States. They are often left to their own devices, and have no idea what to do next.
As you read the article outlining the plight of Phuong Dinh and the response from the Duck tour operator, you find out that Phuong Dinh has hired an attorney to handle her case. In instances such as these, the smart move for international tourists injured in the United States is to hire a knowledgeable attorney and pursue the case fully.
Just because a tourist is injured in the United States does not mean that their medical bills and other financial issues will not linger after they are home. Tourists need to understand the financial challenges an accident can create, and feel comfortable hiring an attorney to handle those needs.
Phuong Dinh had no choice but to hire an attorney, and she represents a small percentage of international tourists
who actually do seek out legal help. In New York City, there are several laws in place that can help tourists to successfully sue negligent parties in an accident. Tourists can go home and still file their case, and they do not have to return to New York City unless there is a trial.
When it comes to protecting your rights in a foreign country, excuses are not going to get the job done. Foreigners who are injured in the United States need to do the same thing Phuong Dinh did and hire a qualified, local attorney to speak for them and protect their rights.
When an accident happens, it is all too easy for the local responsible parties to walk away from international tourists and hope the situation goes away. For tourists to protect their rights, they need to hire a lawyer who knows how to make sure that visitors from outside New York City get compensated properly for the injuries they receive.