If you're heading out of state for a family vacation this summer, probably the last thing on your mind is the possibility of being in an accident -- but it does happen. Whether it's a slip and fall in the hotel jacuzzi or a car accident in a parking lot, there are some basic steps you need to take to protect yourself and any potential lawsuit you have.
1. Go to the emergency room.
Nobody really wants to spend precious vacation time sitting in an emergency room in a strange city, but it's absolutely essential that you don't try to brush off any minor injuries or wait until you get back home to see a doctor. If you do that, then the defense can point to anything you did after the accident as "proof" that you weren't seriously injured at the time.
They could also claim that your injury could have occurred somewhere else -- leaving someone other than the defendant responsible. For example, if you get into a car accident in the hotel parking lot and end up with what you think is just a bruised muscle in your shoulder or neck, then get up and struggle through a miserable day at the amusement park before you finally break down, see a doctor, and get diagnosed with a serious whiplash, the defense can claim that you might have obtained the whiplash on one of the park's rides instead. That could make it much harder to convince a jury and collect a fair judgment.
2. Keep track of lost vacation time and expenses.
Your vacation time has a value -- make sure that you keep track of how much time of your vacation was spent either in the hospital, getting tests, or recovering in the hotel. Keep track of any additional expenses you incur, such as canceled reservations or rebooked flights. These economic losses are all part of your claim and are something that should be reimbursed.
3. Hire an attorney where you were injured.
Because most personal injury claims are heard in state court, not federal court, you'll probably have to hire an attorney in the state you were injured to help you -- instead of where you actually live. That's because your home state doesn't have something called jurisdiction, which is legal authority, over a business or person located in another state.
4. Stay off social media.
This is advice that attorneys today can't stress enough -- what you post on social media can be enough to derail what seems like a rock-solid personal injury case. Even if you're someone who keeps your troubles private and posts just positive things to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, that can damage your case. Defense attorneys can use your upbeat posts and smiling photos to show a jury that you couldn't have been seriously injured and create just enough doubt to destroy your claim. It's wisest to simply drop off of social media altogether while you have a personal injury claim pending.
For more information on what to do if you've been injured while on vacation, talk to an attorney soon or visit websites like http://www.injuryattorneylafayettein.com/.