Preparing for Your Vacation and What to Do When You Get Injured
It is not a picnic to get injured on vacation. Unfortunately, accidents are unpredictable and can happen anywhere.
Here are some tips for your trip preparation and during the trip:
Purchase Health Insurance for an International Trip. Your health insurance covers you within the United States only. It does not cover you once you leave the country. You can purchase health insurance to cover you outside the country at nominal cost. For example, insurance is often offered by cruise lines as an option to the ticket. Sometimes the coverage will pay for flying you back home in an ambulance plane if you have very serious injuries. Some coverages will pay for the living expenses in the foreign country and the cost of returning to the United States if you have to leave the cruise ship or tour group and have to make your own arrangements to return home.
Buy Trip Cancellation Insurance. Generally, this insurance reimburses you for the trip costs if you have to cancel due to illness or death in the family either before embarkation or during the trip. There can be further coverage if you miss part of the trip due to illness or injury. For example, if you were to get injured halfway through a cruise, then this coverage should reimburse the missed part of the trip.
Use Common Sense and Caution. A vacation does not mean a holiday from common sense. Do not engage in activities that are obviously dangerous. For example, I was on a cruise ship with a half basketball court on a polished, teak deck which was slippery when dry and much more slippery when wet. A couple of middle aged guys fractured their arms while playing on the wet deck.
Always Report an Accident. An accident report will provide proof that an incident occurred. Without it, the defendant will claim that you could have gotten injured at a different time and place. For example, a colleague slipped and fell on a Cunard ship. He did not make a formal report. He mentioned the fall to the purser, but there was no formal report. The ship claimed that it had no knowledge of the incident. By reporting the accident, you eliminate defendant’s claim that there was no proof that the accident occurred. Make sure that a formal report is taken which includes your name and the particulars. You should also obtain a copy, if possible. Otherwise, ask about how a copy can be obtained. Remember, the mere reporting of the accident does not guarantee a recovery; it merely removes one important hurdle to recovery.
Seek Appropriate Medical Attention Immediately. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible so that there is a record of an injury close in time to the accident. If you wait a few days until you come home defendant will claim that you could have had the injuries somewhere else. Do not wait four days until you return to New York.
Get Photos and Investigation. Where possible, have your family or traveling partner get photos and investigation of the scene, such as names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses. See if you can obtain a copy of the accident report. We had a case where the travelling companion took photos of a defective concrete walkway in a resort in the Caribbean, and we were able to get an excellent settlement. Without those photos it would have been difficult to settle the case.
Seek Appropriate Medical Care at Home Immediately. Again, if there is a gap in treatment, this can work against you. See a doctor upon your return home.
See an Attorney As Soon As Possible Upon Your Return Home. There may be very short time limits in which to make a claim. For example, cruise ship accidents have a very short time to bring suit.
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