What to Do if You Are Seriously Injured on Vacation

Glenn Honda | | Personal Injury
The family are supporting his son, who was injured while on tour in the summer in Hawaii.

Visiting Hawaii is a dream come true for many, with its stunning landscapes and endless adventure opportunities. However, life can be unpredictable, and a serious accident can quickly turn a dream vacation into a problematic situation. Whether it’s a car accident while exploring the island’s scenic routes or an injury during a hiking expedition, you need to seek medical attention immediately cannot be overstated. Prompt medical attention is crucial for your health and essential to the documentation required for any insurance claim you might need to file. 

Dealing with medical bills and insurance companies and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve can be overwhelming, especially when you’re supposed to enjoy your vacation. This is where a personal injury attorney becomes invaluable. A personal injury lawyer can guide you through filing an insurance claim with your health insurance and the responsible parties’ insurance companies.

One report shows that, on average, one visitor to Hawaii dies every week. There are serious risks associated with vacation activities in Hawaii, including drowning, car accidents, and other accidents. If you become injured while on vacation, here’s our guide to help you take the necessary actions and prevent future problems. We will also explore how a personal injury attorney in Hawaii can provide legal options for your situation.

Understanding the Risks 

When planning a vacation, the focus is often on the excitement and adventures that await. However, it’s equally important to be mindful of the potential risks to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Understanding these risks can significantly reduce the chances of vacation injuries.

Car Accident Risks

One of the common risks while vacationing, especially in areas that require a lot of driving, is the chance of a car accident. If an accident occurs, it’s vital to seek immediate assistance and contact a police officer to file a report. This documentation is important, especially if you need to file a legal action or make an insurance claim in the future.

Fall Accidents and More Active Excursions

Vacation activities often include more active excursions that might increase the risk of fall accidents. Whether hiking in the mountains or exploring urban landscapes, it’s important to check warning signs and wear appropriate gear to minimize risks. Always be aware of your surroundings to prevent situations where you could be badly injured.

Emergency Care and Vacation Injuries

Despite precautions, if an injury occurs, knowing the location of the nearest facility for emergency care is essential. Immediate medical attention can prevent complications and ensure a swift recovery. Always have a basic first-aid kit and emergency contact numbers at hand.

Witnesses and Incident Reports

Witnesses can be invaluable in an injury case, mainly if the incident occurred due to someone else’s negligence or a lack of safety measures. Witnesses can provide statements that support your account of events, which is helpful in incident reports and any legal actions that may follow.

Legal Action and Documentation

You may need to file legal action if you’re badly injured and believe another party is at fault. Documentation such as incident reports, medical records, and testimonies from witnesses will play a crucial role. It is advisable to consult with a legal professional who can navigate these processes.

Steps to Take After an Accident

Steps to take

No matter what kind of accident causes your injury, you can follow these simple steps to protect your rights:

  • Call the police: Immediately call 911 if you or your loved one get into a serious accident. Immediate medical care can save lives and prevent further injuries. A police record of your accident can help you file an insurance claim and prove your side of the story.
  • Gather information: Getting the names of people involved, taking pictures of the accident scene, and obtaining insurance information can save you time and stress. Recording accident events can help you file an accurate injury claim.
  • Call your insurance provider: Contacting insurance providers early will start the process and help you get authorized treatments. Waiting to tell an insurance provider about an accident can cause a valid claim to be denied.
  • Get medical treatment: Certain injuries, like a concussion, are not immediately apparent after an accident. Getting early medical treatment can prevent further injuries.
  • Do not accept an early settlement: Some insurance providers approach injured people right after an accident with a small first offer. Accepting this offer can prevent an injured person from getting compensation once the full nature of their injuries becomes clear. Talk to a personal injury lawyer before accepting any offers from an insurance company.

A severe injury while on vacation can prevent a person from returning home or cause them to miss work. Getting compensation for missed flights, time away from work, and other incurred expenses can become a nightmare to handle from afar. Working with a local personal injury attorney after an accident can make the process easier. A lawyer can handle communications with insurance companies and negligent parties while you focus on getting better.

Legal Considerations

1. Duty of Care and Premises Liability

Hawaii law requires businesses and property owners to maintain a safe environment for visitors. This includes hotels, resorts, restaurants, and public spaces. If an injury occurs due to negligence on the property owner’s part (e.g., slippery floors without warning signs or poorly maintained equipment), the injured party may have grounds for a premises liability claim.

2. Insurance Company Involvement

After an injury, dealing with an insurance company becomes inevitable. This could be your travel insurance provider, the property owner’s liability insurance, or a third-party’s insurer. It’s important to report the injury to your insurance company immediately. Documentation is key—medical reports, photographs of the injury site, and witness statements can support your claim. Understanding your policy’s terms, including what types of injuries and situations are covered, is crucial.

3. Health Insurance Coverage

Your health insurance plan’s role in covering injuries sustained on vacation in Hawaii can vary widely. Before traveling, verify whether your policy provides out-of-state or international coverage, and understand the process for submitting claims for medical treatment received in Hawaii. Some policies may require pre-authorization for certain treatments or limit coverage for “adventure” activities like scuba diving or surfing.

4. Legal Representation and Claims

The claims process can be complex, particularly when dealing with severe injuries or disputes over liability. Consulting with a local attorney experienced in Hawaii’s personal injury laws can be beneficial. A lawyer can help you negotiate with insurance companies, represent your interests, and ensure your claim complies with Hawaii’s legal requirements and deadlines.

5. Statute of Limitations

Hawaii has a statute of limitations that sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit related to personal injuries. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Hawaii is generally two years from the date of the injury. Missing this deadline can result in losing the right to sue for damages. 

Contact an Experienced Attorney After a Vacation Accident in Hawaii

Concluding a vacation in Hawaii with a severe injury can be distressing, yet knowing the proper steps to take can significantly ease the process. Whether the injury is due to a slip and fall on uneven flooring, an outdoor activity gone wrong, or a car accident, the immediate priority should be seeking urgent care, especially if the injuries are life-threatening.

Common injuries encountered during vacations can range from minor to severe, but regardless of the extent, it’s crucial to stay calm and collect information at the scene. This data will be vital if legal action becomes necessary to cover medical and other expenses. If you are injured while on vacation, remember that entities such as hotels, tour companies, and drivers might be liable for negligence.

After receiving medical attention, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney to explore your options. The Recovery Law Center offers legal advice and representation for tourists injured in Hawaii. Our experienced team is well-versed in handling cases involving injuries sustained on vacation. These may include accidents during active excursions, unforeseen slip-and-fall incidents, or car accidents.

Schedule a consultation with us to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and related losses.

Glenn T. Honda

For over 29 years, attorney Glenn Honda has helped people injured in accidents throughout Hawaii get the best outcome for their case, whether it’s maximizing their settlement, or balancing costs and risks vs. putting the whole experience behind them. As the founding attorney of the Recovery Law Center, he is passionate about helping his clients with their physical, emotional and financial recovery. Mr. Honda will fight to get you coverage for your medical bills, lost wages, damaged property and other costs related to your accident.

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