March signals the beginning of spring and Spring Break, when many families travel or go on vacation. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries can happen on vacation just like they can at home. Some of the most common vacation accidents include:
- Car accidents. Vacationers often rent a car while away from home and car crashes can happen anywhere at any time. In fact, auto accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury accidents with more than 2,362,000 injuries and 33,561 fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents in 2012.
- Slip and falls accidents. Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, resulting in approximately 8.9 million emergency department visits each year. If a slip and fall accident happens on the property of another, the property owner could be liable for the resulting injuries.
- Medical errors. Medical negligence is the third leading cause of death, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), just behind heart disease and cancer. In 2010, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services said medical negligence contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients in Medicare alone in a given year. But the latest numbers indicate between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die each year due to some type of preventable harm.
- Swimming pool accidents. Swimming pool owners – including hotels and resorts – have an obligation to take certain precautions to prevent swimming pool accidents.
If you or a family member is injured while on vacation, there are several things you need know. First, you should seek prompt medical attention. Make sure to request and retain copies of all medical records, documentation, and receipts. Since you will likely see a doctor that is not your regular doctor, tracking down this information later can be difficult so it is best to request the information at the time of treatment. Second, make sure to report the accident. If you were in a car accident, notify the police. If you were injured in a hotel, restaurant, or other establishment, notify the manager and request a copy of the incident report. If possible, you should document the accident and the accident scene as much as possible. Take photos and get the names and contact information of any witnesses. Oftentimes vacation accidents happen in places that are new and unfamiliar to the injured party and photos can help serve as a reminder of the locale and surrounding area. After you have returned home, you should inform your insurance company about the accident, but careful when speaking to other parties involved in the accident. For instance, do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company of the hotel, restaurant, or negligent motorist involved in the accident. You should also contact a lawyer as soon as you get home. Depending on the circumstances of the personal injury accident, complex legal issues may be involved. For instance, there might be issues regarding comparative negligence or you may have signed a complicated liability release. A personal injury lawyer will educate you about your legal rights and fight to get you maximum money damages for your injuries. If you or a loved one were injured on vacation, do not delay. Contact the Chicago accident attorneys at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish at (888) 325-7299 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible personal injury lawsuit. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.