Traveling abroad is exciting. When you go on a trip, the last thing you want to think about is the possibility of getting hurt. While this may not be something you want to consider when preparing for your trip abroad, it’s important to plan ahead and know what you would do in this situation.
Before you leave on vacation, it’s a good idea to do some research on the healthcare system of the country you are traveling to and consider purchasing travel insurance. No one plans on getting injured while traveling abroad, but here’s what to do if life takes an unfortunate and unpredictable turn while you are traveling.
I am Injured Abroad – What Do I Do?
Get the Help You Need
Make sure you are safe and get any medical treatment necessary, especially if you are in a life-threatening condition or have suffered major trauma. If your injury is minor and you feel comfortable delaying treatment, you may want to contact your insurance first to understand your options.
Take photos of what happened. For example, if you were in a car accident, take photos of the damage to both cars, your injuries and those of the other people involved, and get multiple angles of the location where the crash took place. Continue to document your healing process as time goes on.
Write Down Important Information
Write down the names of others involved, witnesses, license plate numbers, Driver’s License information, exchange insurance information, and other relevant information to the situation. Write down where exactly the injury occurred and the names of businesses that are nearby.
File a Report
Depending on where you are when your injury happens, you may be able to file an injury report with the business onsite. Places like hotels, restaurants, or cruise ships may have a manager that you can file a report with. Make sure to get a copy of the report or request that a copy of the report be sent to you after it’s been filed.
Contact your insurance
If you purchased travel insurance, report your accident as soon as possible. If you don’t have travel insurance, check with your private health care provider and see if they offer limited coverage for injuries that occur outside of the US. “If you are covered for injuries in a foreign country, your insurance provider has the right to get these funds from the person that caused the accident,” note injury lawyers at Vanguard Attorneys, “look into subrogation laws and your insurance plan to learn more.”
Seek Legal Help
If you want to pursue compensation for your injury abroad, you will want to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer with a background in injury claims abroad. An experienced attorney will be able to help you fight for the compensation you deserve after suffering an injury abroad. Injury attorneys often offer free consultations.
Should I Hire Legal Assistance?
If you’ve been injured abroad, you probably have many questions. Navigating a foreign personal injury claim alone can be daunting and confusing, but the help of the right personal injury attorney can help smooth out the process. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you:
- Build a compelling case
- Know where and how to file your claim
- Understand your options
If you’ve been injured abroad contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible for a free consultation. An experienced attorney with a background in injury claims abroad will be able to help you navigate the systems with ease.
Can I Pursue Compensation for an Injury I Sustained While Traveling Abroad?
The answer to this question largely depends on the country in question. Most foreign countries’ legal systems are much different than the systems here in the United States. Some countries may not allow certain claims or they may have limits set on the amount of monetary recovery allotted.
If I Choose to File a Claim, Where Do I File?
Another great question! Your attorney would tell you that the answer to this question also depends on when and where your injury occurred and who is considered at fault.
Obviously, as a US citizen, it would be easier and more convenient for you to file your claim in the US. You may try this, however, there is a legal concept known as “forum non-conveniens” that essentially allows the foreign citizen or business to challenge a claim brought against them.
Under this concept, they can argue that it would be more convenient for them to work this matter out in the court of their home country, where the incident occurred. If this happens, you may still pursue compensation, but must do so in the court of the foreign country where you sustained your injury. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you navigate this with ease and develop a plan for the next best steps.
Alternatively, you may have been abroad when you were injured, but it could have been caused by an American business that operates overseas. If this is the case, you should be able to sue them in the United States. Examples of American businesses that operate in foreign countries include:
- Tour companies
- American-owned hotel chains
- Cruise lines
- And more
Travel Insurance May Help
One of the best ways you can prepare yourself before a trip abroad is to ensure you have insurance coverage. Insurance coverage will help mitigate the cost of care, should you be injured abroad. Some private health insurance will offer limited coverage while traveling, however, this is not the case with all private health insurance companies, so be sure to check with yours.
If your private health insurance does not offer coverage abroad, you may purchase travel insurance to protect you while you travel. Make sure that the travel insurance you purchase provides:
- Adequate financial coverage
- Coverage for the regions and duration of your travel
- Emergency medical care and medical transport
Ensuring you have proper coverage before leaving on your trip could prove to be extremely useful should an unexpected injury occur while you are abroad.
Be Prepared and Know Your Rights
Whether or not you had insurance coverage while you were abroad, you may still want to pursue a claim against an individual or business that caused you harm while traveling. A lawyer will be able to help you decide on the best course of action and decipher the laws of a foreign country. Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can to discuss your options.