Injured on Vacation: Q&A with Attorney Brian Strong

brian-strongWhen you’re injured in your backyard, you know where the closest hospital is located. If you’re in a car accident near your home, it’s easier to tell the 911 dispatcher the name of the street and the township or borough, than when you’re 50 miles away or farther.

Attorney Brian Strong addresses what to do when you’re in a car accident out of state or injured on vacation.

What happens when you’re in a car accident out of state?

Before traveling, call your insurance agent to check your coverage for out-of-state accidents. Your Pennsylvania auto insurance policy should determine your rights; however, each state has its own conditions that could affect your claim. Keep in mind you could collide with someone from another state which has different requirements for insurance coverage. For example, New Hampshire residents are not required to have motor vehicle insurance. Virginia gives residents with a clean driving record the option to register as an uninsured motorist for an annual fee. Other states have similar laws.

Also before you travel, check into traffic laws that vary state by state. You could be pulled over and fined for violating a law, or you could be in an accident and found to have violated a law you didn’t know existed. For example, it’s illegal to use a handheld phone while driving in Maryland. In New Jersey, distractions on your dashboard or in front of the windshield can lead to a fine, and any pets traveling with you must be restrained.

What happens if you’re in a car accident with a rental car?

In most cases, your own car insurance policy will cover you when driving a rental car in and out of state. You should check with your insurance company beforehand to be certain. If you are in an accident with a rental car, you will most likely file a claim through your own insurance company, but you will also deal with the other driver’s insurer (except in no-fault states) and the rental company.

When renting the car, be mindful if anyone else may drive it in addition to you. If only your name is on the rental agreement but you let someone else drive the vehicle, your claim may be denied.

What happens if you’re injured at a resort or hotel?

Slip-and-fall accidents are common at resorts and hotels, where there may be wet floors from swimming pools and spas or from guests entering a lobby after a rainstorm. There could also be a leaking sink or tub in a room, or faulty flooring.

Whether or not the hotel is at fault for the injury will likely depend on two factors: whether the resort employees knew about the hazardous condition and had the opportunity to correct it before the injury occurred, and how much control the resort had over the situation.

After such an accident, it’s important to take pictures of the environment (note any warning signs, or the lack thereof) and get names and contact information of eyewitnesses. If resort staff provides medical attention, keep documentation of that as well.

On vacation, people often opt for more adventurous activities that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to do at home. What happens if you’re hurt jet skiing, horseback riding, parasailing, four-wheeling, etc.?

Some activities require participants to sign a liability waiver, acknowledging risks associated with that activity.

However, if negligence is involved and it’s a situation outside of an ordinary or expected risk when engaging in that activity, a liability waiver may not necessarily be effective. It’s best to consult an attorney if an injury occurs.

Our experienced team is here to help if you are in an auto accident or face an injury during vacation. Contact one of our skilled attorneys 24/7 for Results You Deserve®.