In the past, Americans had two primary vacation seasons, summer and Christmas, when they would travel for adventure, see family, or find a place for pleasure and relaxation. Now, just as Sunday’s mean something totally different in our post-modern culture, so do holidays and vacations. When and where they are taken can be diverse and occur any month of the year. Business cycles and education cycles have dramatically changed the last two decades, which also contributes to this.
People now not only work from home in large numbers, but kids are attending schools that operate year round. As such, vacation times are not taken during traditional seasons, and can happen any time of the year.
Vacations are meant to be fun, an escape from the mundane or the intensity of one’s life. They are opportunities to explore new worlds and foods, historical sites, or to see an uncle or parent you have not seen in a while. The destination can be as typical as a beach or a mountain resort, or as unusual as a small boat cruise in Alaska, to building a home for orphaned children in Zimbabwe.
But, like in all ways and manner of life, injuries occur and accidents happen on vacations just the same as they do in our everyday other life. When they do, what can you do about it? This will be discussed, but let us look at common places where personal injuries occur most frequently to those on vacation.
Hotels are our home away from home for most people while traveling on vacation. You expect a clean, safe room that is not only comfortable, but keeps your belongings and family members free from theft and harm. But it is not only the rooms that you expect to be safe and worry-free, is also includes the elevators, the lobby, pool, the bar, vending area, dining room, and the parking lot. As well, you expect registered guests and their friends to behave kindly with self-control.
Negligence has occurred in each of these areas before due to either unforeseen or careless concern by the hotel and its staff, or, other guests. It needs to be proven that a hotel, its staff, and its guests, breached a duty owed you that led directly to your injuries. They must inspect the grounds, keep them in safe condition, and take measures to warn the guests of possible dangers, like when there is a spill on the floor. If the hotel is negligent in conducting their duties and you are injured as a result, then you may have a lawsuit.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Many vacations occur at, on, or near water, so most people are prepared for traversing the grounds where moisture exists. Even still, a beachside hotel cannot legally allow damp, moist, or wet areas where normal walking should be expected.
Gift shops, hotel lobbies, fast food to fine dining restaurants, night clubs, convenience stores, tattoo parlors, and arcades must still keep their public areas free of liquids on the ground to prevent a slip and fall accident. Proving negligence includes having the owner or manager know about the spill, caused the spill, and done nothing about it at all or in a reasonable time. If you are walking towards a soda machine and suddenly find your feet shooting in the air and you on your back because of an unattended spill, then you probably have a legitimate personal injury claim.
Amusement Park Accidents
If you think that amusement park accidents are usually the result of faulty ride, then think again. Lawsuits have been brought upon amusement parks for everything from a woman contracting a rare disease from a vulture that was part of a show had scratched her leg, to food poisoning causing a man’s esophagus to erupt, to security guards tossing a man out of a bar at the park where he was physically injured as a result. Certainly, faulty rides create the biggest headlines as they are often life threatening, but there is more to an amusement park injury than being tossed from a rollercoaster at 70 miles an hour. Negligence can be proven if the amusement park is guilty of not taking necessary precautions to prevent an injury from occurring. As well, if they do not properly maintain a ride that causes an injury they can be held liable.
Car Rental Accidents and Other Transportation
If you plan on renting a car or other motor vehicle for your vacation, make sure you understand the agreement fully ahead of time because once you are at the counter and are eager to go after a grueling 11 months of hard work, you will probably just sign your name, grab the car keys, and blast off to your destination.
Check to see if your auto coverage has any drape over to a rental. Next, if you know the company you are going with, read ahead on their website what their insurance policies cover. For a few extra dollars a day these can be purchased and save you lots of money and headaches in case you get into an accident, whether it was your fault or not. Also, make sure that whoever you plan on driving the car is covered.
Car rental companies, along with limousine and bus companies, have certain legal expectations that must be fulfilled in terms of their vehicles being safe to drive. If you are on the highway and suddenly the brakes don’t work, then you have more than one problem on your hand. There are numerous scenarios that could occur, so, be careful and insured and go with a reliable company.
Airport accidents, from crashing planes to overlooked hazardous conditions, can cause serious personal injuries. Airports are often cities within a city and have everything from transportation to food, smoking areas to restrooms, bars, and lounges, shops, telephone banks, and, of course, long lines for checking in and going through security. Along the way in any of these places an accident can occur causing a personal injury or worse. Like in all other personal injury cases, airport negligence must be proved.
What to Do If You or a Loved One Has Been Hurt
If your vacation has been ruined or hampered by a personal injury, what should you do? Being far away from home and not having the legal contacts in the area might be intimidating. But the first thing you should do is get the right medical attention. Keep records of everything involved in the accident. Take pictures with your camera or cell phone and interview any witnesses. Do not speak to any insurance company, and do not make promises to others involved, especially financial one’s or admissions of your own culpability. Then, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your situation and what can be done to rectify it.
“Many of our clients are from out of state as we see a lot of accidents in our area because of Carrowinds Amusement Park being so close, and because the I70 corridor is a thoroughfare for many people going to the beaches or mountains for vacation,” says Garrett B. Johnson, attorney with Elrod Pope Law Firm in Rock Hill, SC. “Having a local, experienced personal injury attorney is essential in prosecuting your case effectively.”
Your friendly home lawyer in Ohio may do well there, but you will need to hire an attorney that is local to where the accident occurred and can legally practice in that state.
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Chad Smith functions as operations manager of RevenFlo and is charged with the management of all RevenFlo work as conducted for RevenFlo clients. Chad came from a project management background in the construction and stone industry. Prior to that, he worked in sales and marketing for both advertising firms and mortgage firms. Chad is married to Susie and has two wonderful sons, Grayson, and Jake.