Injured While on Vacation
After plenty of planning, lots of saving and very likely some pandemic-related delays, your long-awaited vacation is here. Then, when you’re least expecting it, an accident occurs. Maybe it’s a fall walking down the steps of your beachfront rental. Maybe it’s a car crash on a mountain road when you’re out of state. Most challengingly, perhaps, maybe it’s a wreck when you’re somewhere more far-flung—like a taxi or bus accident in a foreign country.
While we want our trips to be perfect, the reality is that life still happens when we’re away from home. Slippery pool decks and glossy hotel lobbies might lead to falls. Unfamiliar roads, unfamiliar rental vehicles and even different driving rules can all lead to crashes. According to the CDC, vehicle crashes are, in fact, the leading cause of death among healthy travelers abroad, and half of medical evacuations are the result of car crash injuries.
So what do you do when you’re injured on vacation, and, just as importantly, how do you try to avoid accidents in the first place?
What to do after an accident while on vacation
If you’re involved in a car crash out of state, or even while outside of the country, the procedures you’ll follow won’t be too different from what you’d do at home:
- First, you’ll want to check for injuries and contact the authorities.
- Exchange information with the other drivers involved and any witnesses who may have been on the scene. If you’re driving a rental car, don’t share that fact with the other driver.
- Document the crash site, being sure to take pictures of vehicle damage, the general scene and any contributing factors.
- Ask the authorities how you can get a copy of the accident report.
After you’ve received medical care (being sure to collect information about where you’re being treated and by whom), contact your insurance company. Be brief here—just informing them that you’ve been involved in an accident away from home.
If you were driving a rental car, contact the rental car company. There will likely be an emergency number for such calls on the rental agreement or in the glove compartment. The company should be able to tell you what to do next and provide you with a replacement car. If there are charges associated with this, make sure you document them for possible reimbursement later. You’ll also want to determine if you booked the rental car with a credit card company offering rental coverage.
According to Nerd Wallet, you may still have to pay a deductible to the rental company even if you weren’t at fault. If this happens, your insurance needs to be aware in order to pursue reimbursement from the at-fault driver.
If you were driving your own vehicle, you may be in a bit of a bind as you determine the timeline for repairs. You may have to wait them out, or, potentially, rent a car to continue with your trip.
If your injuries are serious, be sure you speak to the doctor about when you’ll be able to go home and how to do so safely.
For a non-car-related accident, you’ll follow the same procedures: notifying the authorities, documenting the scene, and, most importantly, seeking medical attention.
In some cases, you’ll also want to speak to a local personal injury attorney. At Litner + Deganian, we regularly work with visitors who got caught up in Atlanta’s often-dangerous traffic and need representation.
How to avoid accidents while on vacation
While it’s impossible to avoid all accidents, there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of injury while on vacation.
- Map out your route and turn navigation over to someone else. If you’re distracted on unfamiliar roads, you’re more likely to miss road signs, sharp turns or dangerous behavior from other drivers.
- Take regular breaks, and don’t drive late at night.
- Choose a rental vehicle you’re comfortable driving.
- Don’t drink and drive.
- If you’re vacationing at a location with a pool or access to the water, make sure young kids can’t enter without an adult.
- Be careful on slippery surfaces, like highly polished floors or wet areas.
If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll need to be particularly careful on the road, as you may not be familiar with local driving rules. The following recommendations from the CDC focus on travel to developing countries, where automobile deaths account for the bulk of global totals:
- Always wear your seatbelt and only ride in taxis with seatbelts.
- Make sure your kids are in an approved car seat or booster.
- Avoid riding on motorcycles or scooters or in top-heavy buses or vans
With preparation and some precautions, hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy a safe and fun vacation.
Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers
Vacations should be relaxing, but if you have to handle the stress of an accident, you need a personal injury lawyer you can trust. If you’re involved in an accident and injured while vacationing in Atlanta, contact the personal injury attorneys at Litner + Deganian for a free consultation.