Vacations are a great way to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. When life gets too overwhelming, getting away from it all is a great way to recharge and re-calibrate.
But what if things go awry and you get into an accident? Vacation accidents and deaths occur more than we think—a surprising number of Americans get into accidents while on holiday, and fatalities occur not only on domestic but also international holidays.
What are our rights and responsibilities, and can we hold others liable for when vacation accidents occur? Here are the things you need to know.
Types of vacation accidents
Here are some examples of the kinds of accidents that can happen while you’re on vacation, and how you’re protected by the law when they take place.
1. Amusement park or water park accidents
If an amusement park or a water park accident was caused by the inattention and carelessness of the park staff, then you can file a negligence claim. A standard negligence claim requires that a plaintiff prove that the defendant was inattentive and careless during the accident.
In general, leisure parks and resorts are responsible for the actions of their employees and must ensure that their staff members are adequately trained. Parks are also responsible for maintaining the rides and doing regular inspections and checks to ensure that they’re functioning well and safe for people to ride on. They must also uphold the safety of the park visitors by putting safety precautions in place, like posting clear warning signs for potential health hazards and the risks involved in trying the rides.
2. Drowning or pool injuries
Drowning accidents are more common than people expect. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that from 2005 to 2014, an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drowning incidents occur each year in the US—about ten deaths per day.
If you or someone you love is a victim of drowning during a vacation, a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit can be the best legal recourse to ensure that the party responsible can be held accountable, and you get the compensation you deserve.
Swimming pool or resort owners can be held liable if they fail to warn swimmers of the drowning dangers associated with the swimming pool or the area, or if they refuse to take additional steps to ensure that the pool is adequately safe.
3. Traffic accidents
Dealing with a car accident when you’re on vacation should be similar to how you will handle it when you’re in your hometown or country. Immediately check for injuries and call for paramedics, contact the police to file a report that can be easily accessible later, exchange pertinent information with the other driver involved, and contact your insurance company to check if you can file a claim.
Insurance laws and policies vary across state lines. Research on how car accidents and personal injury claims work in the places you’re going to even before you leave for your vacation.
4. Premises liability accidents
“Premises liability” hinges on property or hotel owners’ duty to ensure a safe environment so that visitors and guests don’t suffer an accident or an injury during their stay. For example, when a hotel elevator malfunctions and causes injury or even death to the guests, the hotel can be held liable for the accident. Amusement park accidents can also fall under premises liability.
The type of accident and the injuries you incur from it will determine what kind of lawsuit or claim you can file. Consult with a personal injury attorney to gain a full understanding of your rights and options.
When Both Sides Are Culpable
One of the most used arguments against negligence or liability claims is that an injured plaintiff was partially at fault. After all, individuals must also care for their safety and well-being. In these cases, many states adhere to a “comparative fault” system, a partial legal defense that lowers the number of damages in a negligence-based claim, depending on the degree to which the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to cause the accident or injury.
Your rights vary from state to state and country to country.
Legal systems vary from state to state and country to country. For example, while car accidents can be standard in the US, traffic accident liability can function a little differently in other nations. So before you hop on that car or plane, make sure to know the legal ins and outs of the place you’re visiting to know what you can do in case of an accident or injury.