Traveling is one of the best ways to treat yourself after a long period of all work and no play. Apart from helping relax your body and distress your mind, it’s also a great way to create lasting memories as you explore, adventure, and have fun. Now that the COVID-19 travel restrictions have been eased in many places, the appetite for vacation is spiking. Travel enthusiasts can’t wait to get out there and have the time of their lives.
Nonetheless, it is always great to plan your trip adequately, have a complete travel checklist, and budget accordingly. Well, part of the preparation process involves ensuring your health and safety. However, there is always a slight chance that you could get ill or sustain an injury during your trip. It could happen in a different state or even abroad in the least expected locations.
It could be a nasty insect sting or a God forbidden snake bite in the wild. It could also be a slip-and-fall in the mall or an airplane injury. If it is among the most commonly experienced travel injuries, it could be from an accident on the road towards the airport when headed back home. Of course, these are just a few common-case scenarios but in either case, you need to know what to do to ensure your safety and wellness.
Here are a few helpful tips on steps to take if you get injured while traveling…
1. Notify the Relevant People
Whether the incident occurred on the road, hotel, mall, museum, or in the wild, you will want to notify the necessary individuals. The relevant people could be your peers or the people you’re traveling with. It could be a tour guide, the hotel manager, or the local authorities in case of a road accident.
If you are badly hurt, the people near you could act quickly to ensure you get the urgent help you need. You may also need a report from law enforcement officers in case you need to file a personal injury claim later on. Leisure, travel, and entertainment companies also have a specific set of guidelines and protocol to follow in case injuries occur on their facilities.
2. Call Local Emergency Hotline and Seek Treatment
As soon as you notice your injuries, seeking medical care should in fact be the first step to take. Well, this will of course, depend on how bad the injury looks, but nothing should be underestimated. Some injuries could be internal and may only become apparent when more damage has been done inside your body. For this reason, it is advisable to seek medical care as soon as you possibly can after the incident that caused your injuries.
However, you may not always know your way around getting medical help abroad or in an unfamiliar travel destination. This makes it crucial to contact the emergency hotline of that area or location. It also brings us back to the importance of notifying the relevant people about the incident. If your injury doesn’t appear severe or life-threatening, you could also use the GPS or internet to locate the nearest clinic. The idea is to find medical care as soon as possible for a clean bill of health.
3. Collect Evidence/Information
As we saw earlier, travel accidents can come in all forms and manners. It is always advisable to document the scene where you got injured and collect as much info as you can. If it’s a car crash, you could take photos of the other car, the accident scene, and other factors you may suspect of having contributed to the accident.
If you are unable to, don’t sweat it. You could also have a witness do it for you if one is available. Apart from photo and video evidence, other ways to get info and document evidence include the following:
- Get the other party’s contacts (driver, facility manager, property owner, etc.)
- Keep contacts of the physician you see
- Get insurance info and plate numbers (in case of a collision)
4. Think About the Costs Involved
Getting injured while on vacation or a road trip can be a costly affair. It is even more complex if you get injured while abroad. You will have medical bills to foot, not forgetting that you might need to extend your stay as you receive treatment. This means higher accommodation, food, and upkeep costs. The situation could even force you to skip work, possibly meaning lost earnings. With this in mind, you will likely have to readjust your plans and consider the costs you will incur.
The good part is that you may still recover compensation from the negligent party through a personal injury claim. Nonetheless, these lawsuits may take time to get finalized due to certain legal and jurisdictional complexities.
The better part is that emergency funding companies are available for injured individuals like you out there. Jared Stern, Founder of Provident Legal Funding provides cash upfront for certain lawsuits where a settlement or compensation decision is pending. If you are injured in a car accident while traveling in the United States, a personal injury lawsuit loan can help you navigate the difficulties that follow. The best part is that these loans are offered on a no-recourse basis, where you only pay the money back if and when you win your case.
5. Report to Your Travel Insurance
If you’re a frequent traveler, you know carrying travel insurance is a smart thing to do. Once you’re injured, be sure to let your coverage provider know as soon as possible. Different companies have different reporting procedures. However, thanks to the internet, most of these things can be done online from anywhere with reliable connection.
Depending on your policy type, insurance provider, and limitations, your carrier can cover most of the costs you incur after your injuries abroad or during interstate travel. In many cases, travel insurance covers essential or emergency medical care and travel arrangements for the victim to get back home. Many policy providers will also specify what the policy covers and doesn’t cover. For instance, activities like boating, skydiving, and rock-climbing are often sidelined.
All the same, it is highly unlikely to be denied medical emergency care just because your policy won’t cover the costs. This includes both in public and private healthcare establishments. Even so, it pays to choose your travel insurance carefully and understand the clauses of the policy before signing up for it. You can even have more than one travel insurance policy; say a private on and one for business travel. As soon as you get injured, let the insurance policy know.
6. Get a Good Lawyer
If you are injured while traveling, there are chances that the accident could have been caused by someone’s negligence. For instance, the car you hired might have had some defective parts, or a reckless driver bumped into you. Maybe you entered a building where renovations were ongoing and you got hit in the head. Perhaps the floors were littered with oil spills and no warning signs were placed to indicate any of these.
These are just a few of the many cases amounting to negligence. It is a legal right if you are an American citizen, to pursue a personal injury claim against a negligent party. To do so, however, you will want to get the best lawyer you can find. This is especially because tort laws and their interpretation may vary from state to state and country to country.
An experienced attorney can help you determine if you have a valid personal injury claim. They can guide you on how to go about filing a lawsuit or seeking settlement out of court. They may also provide you with various options for funding – like we saw earlier – if you are on a tight budget. A highly skilled lawyer will most likely have information about the jurisdictional issues and how to navigate them. Depending on how the situation looks and your distance from home, you want to prefer working with an attorney from your home state or country.
This will probably be more convenient, plus an attorney from home is easier to relate with. They will keep you updated every step of the way, plus you can minimize travel and other costs incurred in the process. All in all, an experienced injury lawyer will know where and when to file the claim, as well as how to navigate it.
To wrap up…
Finally, it is okay to ask for help from locals when injured, but avoid providing too much information about your claim. Do not panic, stay healthy, and stay safe. If the injury was just a scratch and not much impact was involved, it might be best to keep things on the low.
At the end of the day, injuries while traveling can be a scary experience. They can cut your trip short, and perhaps leave you in a financial mess. This is not to forget the pain, confusion, and emotional trauma that could follow. If you know how to navigate the aftermath, your experience can be better and less stressful.