A vacation is usually planned weeks or even months in advance. During that time, you are looking forward to having this time to relax and unwind. However, an unfortunate incident like a car accident might occur while you are on vacation and throw a wrench into your plans, whether you rented a car or took your own. An unexpected car accident while on vacation can leave you seriously injured, incapacitated, or unable to return to work. This worst-case scenario could leave you or your family hurting financially, effects that might linger for years and years to come.
If you suffered these injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve to receive fair compensation for medical bills, missed income, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other issues pertaining to quality of life. This compensation will help you recover and return to a normal life. Regardless of whether your accident occurred in or out of your state of residence, you may have to hire a personal injury attorney to ensure this happens.
Every year across the United States, millions of tourists visit various vacation hot spots. While vacationing in any area, it is recommended to exercise the proper cautions to avoid traffic hazards or getting injured as a result of negligent property management at an amusement park or hotel. The most common injuries people experience while on vacation are the result of traffic accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycling accidents, slips or falls, injuries related to crime, and boating accidents.
In many states across the nation, it is the responsibility of the property owner to keep their premise safe and free from any potential safety hazards. This applies to any public area such as a restaurant, entertainment venue, and even public transportation. This includes other forms of transportation such as an airport taxi service, shuttle bus, tramcar, or used trailers. While on vacation, the most common injures people suffer as a result of negligence are due to a lack of sufficient lighting, missing or loose hand railings, water or debris on pathways or floors, wet or slick walkways, malfunction of entertainment devices such as a roller coaster, a lack of proper security, and reckless driving. If these hazards are present on a property as the result of negligence, they could become a liability. It does not matter if it is a commercial, residential, or governmental property.
Because all these accidents are preventable, businesses and other individuals are required by law to try their best to avoid negligence. If you are on vacation and are injured as a result of negligence on someone else’s part, you could be entitled to compensation. You must contact a personal injury attorney about your case as soon as possible to ensure you get the best result.
Driving Safely While On Vacation
In 2019, approximately 100 million people in the United States planned to take a vacation with their family, according to a recent travel survey conducted by the American Automobile Association. In addition, 20 to 50 million people are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year and almost half of all medical evacuations from other countries back to the United States are because of injuries sustained as a result of a car accident while on vacation, according to the Center For Disease Control. Therefore, it is incredibly important that you remain diligent if you are going to be driving in an unfamiliar location while you are on vacation. Before getting behind the wheel while on vacation, you should:
- Learn about the various local driving procedures and traffic laws of the area in which you will be driving. Take special note of what side of the road cars drive on in the country you are vacationing in
- Be certain that you can properly operate the vehicle you will be driving, especially if you are renting a vehicle you have never driven before
- Drive safely and make good decisions, make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing their seatbelts. Take a taxi or ridesharing service if you will be consuming alcohol
- Stay away from the busiest and most overcrowded areas
- Try to avoid riding a motorcycle. If it is your only option, take certain safety measures such as wearing a helmet
These simple precautions will greatly decrease your chances of having a car accident while on vacation, as well as your risk of injury due to an automobile accident. However, if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you need to know the best course of action.
Follow the Standard Procedure
The worst part of having an accident or getting injured while on vacation is that you are away from home, your family, friends, and your regular doctor, and you have to figure out how to deal with the situation. If you have a car accident while on vacation, the best course of action you can take is to follow the standard procedure for handling a car accident, no matter how far away from home you are.
The standard procedure starts with calling the police to the scene immediately after the incident to prepare an accident report. You should also gather any relevant information from the other driver or drivers involved. This includes contact information, insurance information, the license plate number, and the make, model, and vehicle identification number of the other car or cars involved. If you are not sure about this information, you can contact the auto dealer in which the vehicle was purchased or other dealerships who may be able to supply this information.
If there are any witnesses to the accident who have stopped, you should ask for their contact information too. Do not forget to collect contact information from any police officers responding to the scene as well. Any witness can help you argue your claim if you eventually have to go to trial.
If anyone requires medical attention after the accident, they should seek it immediately. Many people make the mistake of waiting until they return home from vacation to see a doctor for their injuries. Even if you feel completely fine and are not experiencing any injuries or pain after the accident, it is recommended to go to the emergency room anyway. This way, they can make sure there are no hidden injuries such as muscle strain or whiplash. These injuries often have delayed onsets and the shock from the accident may prevent you from fully feeling the effects immediately after. Make sure to document your experience and receive proper medical documentation from the hospital staff that treated you.
If you have a car accident while on vacation and your current vehicle becomes inoperable as a result of the accident, you may be entitled to a replacement vehicle covered by your insurance while your car is at the repair shop or automotive motorsports shop. Save money at the repair shop with tire rotation and oil change coupons. On the other hand, if the accident is the fault of another party, it may be covered by their insurance. If you believe your vehicle is inoperable at the scene, do not wait and ask the driver at fault about their insurance company’s rental car coverage.
Regardless of whether you were driving your own car or a rental vehicle, the next step is to file a claim with your car insurance company. For this step, it is usually helpful to consult an accident injury attorney. They can provide advice and assist you with making a statement to your auto insurance company. It is very important not to make a statement to your insurance company that they can possibly use against you and try to decrease your compensation.
Finding The Right Lawyer
Because you are likely driving in an unfamiliar area or possibly even an unfamiliar country, your chances of having a car accident while on vacation are increased. Furthermore, if you reside in a certain state and have a car accident while on vacation in another, you may have a lot of questions about how this could potentially affect your accident claim. For instance, you could be a resident of Arizona who has had an accident while in Las Vegas or a Nevada resident who has had a car accident while on vacation in the Grand Canyon. In either one of these scenarios, one of the best courses of action you can take is to work with an attorney from a firm that is licensed to practice law in both states, your state of residence, and the state in which the car accident occurred.
Every state has different laws regarding what you are entitled to after a car accident, in terms of recovery and damages. There is often conflict between different state laws and there numerous unknown laws that could potentially impact your case. Because of these discrepancies in state law, it is highly recommended you hire an attorney who is licensed and has experience practicing law in both states and understands the differences in state law.
Differences Between State Law
If you return home from vacation before hiring an attorney to assist you with your accident claim, you may be faced with a lot of questions and uncertainties. You may be wondering what state you should hire an attorney in and whether or not it matters if the attorney is licensed in both states, since you have already returned home. In this situation, it is always best if you hire an attorney who is licensed and has an extensive knowledge of the law in both states.
For example, if you did not have car insurance at the time of the accident, certain state laws limit what you can recover in a claim. If you are not at fault and did not have car insurance at the time of the accident, some state laws say you are not entitled to receive any compensation for your pain and suffering. This law will significantly change how you file your claim. If you are not working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you would have no way of knowing these laws exist.
As another example, some states have laws on the books that say car insurance companies do not have to pay for billed medical or hospital charges. In these states, car insurance companies only have to pay for paid medical or hospital charges. For instance, if you get into an accident and go to the hospital and the bill is one thousand dollars, your health insurance company pays 250 dollars, the at-fault driver’s car insurance company is only required to pay 250 dollars. This is one of many issues that can come into play when dealing with insurance companies across state lines. This is why it is imperative to be working with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Other Compensation You Could Recieve
If you have had a car accident while on vacation, you could be entitled to compensation other than medical bills or auto repair. For instance, if you and your family were on vacation at an amusement park and you were unable to visit the park due to the accident, you could be entitled to compensation for any amusement park tickets you were unable to use. Be sure to include your unused tickets in your list of damages, which is legal lingo for losses you have incurred as a result of the accident. There are few other things you can include in your list of damages, including unused non-refundable hotel reservations or plane tickets you purchased to fly back early. If you had a car accident while on vacation, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure you receive all the compensation you may be entitled to.
Once you are finished dealing with your car accident while on vacation, it is important to remember that you are, in fact, on vacation. You should try to relax and enjoy the rest of your time away. Head to the beach or a local burger and milkshake joint. This will be a lot easier knowing that you are working with a qualified attorney who is licensed to handle your case in both states. An attorney will be able to work with your insurance company, quickly resolve your claim, and get you the compensation you are entitled to.