Berman & Asbel, LLP

Can I Sue if An Injury or Death Occurs South of the Border?

Spring break is pretty much over for the college-age set. With the youth crowd back on campus and flights and rents now more reasonable, many older couples and families will take advantage of vacation deals to the warmer climate of Mexico.

Unfortunately, life does not come without risk. Stepping out the door exposes us to potential accidents. Traveling increases that risk. Certain risks we are willing to take, but most vacationers don't expect to encounter hazardous conditions that cause injury or death at their destination.

But there is little a renter can do to be sure that rental accommodations are completely safe. If negligent maintenance leads to injury, you may have the right to seek compensation. Your chances of success are best determined by checking with experienced legal counsel.

This comes to mind in the wake of an Iowa family's death in Mexico recently. According to news reports, the family of four had gone to Cancun and was staying in a rented condominium. Their bodies were found in the condo on March 23rd. Authorities said they had been dead several days, the victims of toxic gas. Investigators traced the source to a leaky gas line to the water heater and suggest the leak might have been the result of the appliance's old age or improper maintenance.

The question you may ask is "Can surviving loved ones sue over the apparent wrongful deaths?" Generally, the answer is yes. If someone was either reckless or negligent in maintaining a property, fault can be assigned and legal action can follow. The next question is, where to take action?

For the courts in the United States to have jurisdiction, certain conditions must apply. These include:

  • Potential defendants must have a presence in the jurisdiction of filing
  • The defendants must live or do business in the jurisdiction
  • There must be some minimum contact in the jurisdiction by the defendant
  • The defendant consents

In the case of the Mexico condominium, the rental contract may establish where suit can be brought, or if disputes must be handled through arbitration.

When there are questions about legal rights and options, getting a solid assessment of your case by an experienced attorney at Berman & Asbel, LLP is crucial.

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