Most seasoned travelers have at least one crazy story of a mishap or injury that occurred while traveling. Unfortunately, vacation injuries and illnesses are relatively common, and they are particularly difficult to deal with in an unfamiliar place.
If you are injured on vacation, you may be forced to cancel the rest of your vacation, and could even be left with debilitating injuries. Fortunately, you can mitigate these risks by being aware of common causes of vacation injuries, and by knowing what to do in the event of an injury.
Below we discuss common causes of vacation injuries and how to avoid them, as well as how to protect your rights if you are injured.
Injury Risks Floridians Face While on Vacation
When vacationing, you are in an unfamiliar locale, possibly with other tourists from all over the world. Vacationers also tend to let their guard down to relax, and may also indulge in alcohol. These factors lead to an increased risk of accidents, and also make tourists an ideal target for criminals looking to take advantage of the situation.
Below are just some of the most common injuries and accidents people experience on vacation.
Car Accidents. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among healthy travelers. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that as many as 25,000 tourists worldwide are killed in car accidents annually, and many more are seriously injured. Car accidents become more likely on vacation because you’re driving in an unfamiliar place, and may be unaware of local driving laws and practices.
To decrease the risk of car accidents, use ridesharing services whenever possible. That way the driving is taken care of, and there’s also no need to worry about parking. If you do drive, be sure to pay full attention to the road – let your spouse answer the ever-present “Are we there yet?” coming from the back seat.
Slips, Trips and Falls. Thousands of people are admitted to U.S. emergency rooms annually due to slip, trip, and fall injuries, which can be quite severe. Slip, trip, and fall injuries are more likely while on vacation because you’re in an unfamiliar place, and due to hazards such as poorly maintained beaches, slick spills in restaurants and hotels, poorly maintained flooring, or uneven carpeting.
Illnesses. When you’re traveling, you’re coming in contact with other tourists from all over the country and world, so are likely to be exposed to all kinds of nasty bugs. This is especially true on cruise ships, where travelers are living in close quarters, and typically enjoy buffet-style meals. Cruise ships are particularly notorious for outbreaks of norovirus, especially if proper food safety and sanitation practices are not in place.
To help avoid the risk of illness, make sure that you get the recommended immunizations before going, and are aware of hazards such as insect-borne illnesses endemic to the region. Finally, check the traveler’s health report for your destination before you leave.
Theft and Negligent Security. Unfortunately, tourists make easy targets for petty thieves and con artists. If your accommodations do not have appropriate security practices in place to mitigate hazards unique to the locale, these incidents become more likely.
What to Do if You’re Injured on Vacation in Florida
If you or a family member are injured on vacation, it’s important to take the right steps as soon as possible to ensure your family’s safety – and to protect your rights.
Notify. If you are hurt, notify the appropriate people as soon as possible. If you are injured in a place of business, notify an employee. If you get in a car accident or fall victim to crime, call the local authorities right away, and do not leave the scene of the incident if possible.
Document. Vacation accidents often happen in the blink of an eye, and may cause you to become flustered and miss crucial details. Fortunately, it’s much easier to document an accident in the era of smartphones. Take as many pictures as you can of the scene, your injuries, and any possible factors that could have contributed to the accident.
Collect information. Take down the contact information of witnesses or anyone involved in the incident. If you are injured in a place of business, ask the manager for their contact information. If you see a physician, be sure to collect their contact information as well, such that you can access your medical records later if needed.
Seek Medical Care. If you are injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel that your injuries are severe. Adrenaline masks pain, so it’s likely that you’re hurt worse than you know. A physician can also look for injuries such as internal bleeding that may not be readily apparent at the scene of the accident. Seeking medical attention is also important in documenting your injuries.
Seek Compensation if Appropriate. In many cases, vacation accidents and illnesses could have been prevented by appropriate safety precautions. If you are injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, consider holding them accountable by seeking compensation. Keep in mind that any lawsuits will be filed locally, so you will need to contact a local personal injury attorney. An experienced Florida injury lawyer will also be familiar with local liability laws.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.