Personal Injuries Suffered on Vacation
Vacations are supposed to be fun, enjoyable ways to soak up the sun and spend time with your family. Tourism in Florida accounts for a huge part of the state’s revenue, and there are roughly 87 million visitors a year traveling to the thousands of Floridian tourist establishments. This totals about $67 billion, hugely benefiting Florida’s economy. However, it’s all fun and games until someone gets injured on vacation. If you are injured in Florida while on vacation, you are still entitled to file an insurance claim. It might not seem easy to do because you’re in a different state, but the opportunity to get the settlement you deserve is tangible.
In Florida, you may have to file your claim in the state if you are injured here, regardless of where you are from. Whether it’s a simple slip and fall accident, or an injury due to careless maintenance of property, there are steps that you can take to ensure your personal well-being while holding the individual or company who’s at fault responsible. In this article, we will discuss these steps that you can take when you are injured on vacation in Florida.
Before we get started, it’s important to note things you can do in order to safeguard your health and safety. Preparation is key, and although the idea of an injury while on vacation may not be in the forefront of your mind now, make sure that you have travel insurance—it’s actually not as expensive as people think. It’s especially important to consider travel insurance if you’re someone who vacations regularly and for long (at least two weeks) periods of time. Pack an emergency medical kit as well, and carry it with you. This kit should be kept well-stocked, not just with items that pertain to physical injuries, but antihistamines, anti-diarrheal medicine, and antibiotics as well.
Now, here are the steps you should take if you are injured while on vacation in Florida.
Step 1: Ascertain proper medical care and save all documents from the treatment of your injury.
When you’re injured, the first thing you should do is tend to your own safety. To use the classic example of a “slip and fall,” you should immediately go to the emergency room, especially if the injury has impacted your head and back. Once there, make sure that you save all pertinent information. Even documents that seem irrelevant should be kept. You will need them if you decide to initiate a lawsuit. (For your edification, trip and fall incidents are the most common type of theme park lawsuits, according to the Orlando Sentinel).
Step 2: Don’t wait until you get home to obtain medical care.
This isn’t so much a “step” as an addendum to the first one. It may be tempting to wait until you get home to see the doctor that you are familiar with, and that is understandable. However, this can damage your personal injury case if you choose to wait to get care. Getting immediate care is not only vital because you want to ensure that you are in a safe-enough state to travel home (traveling while injured is particularly taxing on international visitors), but also because waiting to address injuries makes the suit more complex. Questions arise about why that you waited, and often the answer of familiarity with your home doctor is not satisfactory. The question of the extent of your injuries will also come up.
Also, make sure you write down a full account of what happened to you. Don’t wait to do so, as you might forget and become muddled on the details. Document your injuries through photographs, and get the contact information of anyone who was a witness to the injury. Documentation will provide your lawyer with the information needed to proceed with your case in court. You can also inform the party responsible that you are planning to file a claim, even if you are not 100% certain of whether or not you will do so.
Step 3: Decide whether to file a claim.
The question of whether or not there is a liable party at fault for your injury can be answered by a legal professional, so don’t hesitate to ask a Florida lawyer whether or not you have grounds to sue. Fault can be established if you believe that the party or venue that caused your injuries was negligent, meaning that they exhibited careless behavior that led to your injury (for example, insufficient signage over a wet floor station, not informing you of dangers related to the premises, or allowing inexperienced employees to use equipment that they shouldn’t have had access to). Be aware that if you yourself were being negligent—if you were somewhere you weren’t supposed to be or doing something you weren’t supposed to do—the chances of you being able to claim personal compensation are minimal.
Step 4: File a claim (it can be done without you being there).
If you believe that your injury was caused by negligence (as most injuries are), you can file a claim. You do not have to be there in person to file; your lawyer can. You will likely have to file a claim in the state and county in which you sustained your injuries. This is why it is not only important to seek medical care at a Florida hospital or doctor’s office, it is also vital to have a personal injury lawyer from the state itself, as he or she is familiar with Florida law and Florida judges, and will be the most helpful.
Step 5: Be prepared to travel down for the suit.
Although a claim can be filed on your behalf, you may be required to travel down to Florida in order to handle the lawsuit. Your lawyer will advise you on that, but it is something you should be prepared to do.
Getting injured while on vacation is frightening, and can feel alien because you are stuck in a state that you are unfamiliar with. This article has laid out some basic steps for you to take if you sustain a vacation- or tourism-related injuries. As long as you document your injuries extensively and file a lawsuit with a Florida attorney in a timely fashion, you have a good chance at receiving compensation.