Tens of millions of tourists arrive in the United States every year to experience its many landmarks, rich melting pot of cultures, and natural beauty. Most tourists will bring back photographs and fond memories. Unfortunately, not all vacations go as planned. Accidents can happen anywhere, and the United States is no exception. When traveling abroad, take a few steps beforehand to minimize the chances of an injury.
Before Your Trip
Before visiting the United States, visitors may wish to look into automobile and health insurance. Automobile insurance is required to drive in the United States. Additionally, accidents are common sources of lawsuits in the United States. Rental car companies will usually offer a multitude of choices for insurance, including collision damage waivers and supplemental liability insurance. For an international traveler, getting both will be worthwhile. For health insurance, look into a temporary plan with extensive coverage; medical care in the United States can be very expensive.
Travelers should also identify their local consulate before traveling to the United States. In the unfortunate event that a United Kingdom passport is lost or stolen, the local Consulate General will help travelers replace their documents. The local consulate can also give travel advice. There are nine British Consulate Generals in the United States in different major cities; the British Embassy is located in Washington D.C. Knowing which is nearest to you is always prudent.
Additionally, international travelers should consider their mobile phone access. The United States has a wide coverage area for mobile phone users, but not all plans cover all countries. If your carrier considers the United States a roaming area, it may be wise to change your plan beforehand, as an unintentional extended stay or unexpected series of calls can greatly increase the cost of the trip. Alternatively, visitors can buy inexpensive prepaid mobile phones once in the United States. Visitors can simply buy a new phone, register the number, and use it for calls within the United States. When ready to leave, discard the mobile phone.
What to do if an Accident Occurs
In the unfortunate event of personal injury, leave the liability assessment to a professional, a lawyer with extensive experience in international and holiday injury claims such as Houston, Texas-based Michael P Doyle of Doyler Raizner, LLP. If the incident involved injury to someone else or that person’s property, document the incident extensively. Take as many photographs of the scene as possible and memorize the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the collision. It is unlawful to leave the scene of an accident in the United States without exchanging information, and in the event of a hit-and-run incident, victims will be able to identify the fleeing vehicle.
Contact emergency services immediately if any accident occurs and anyone is injured. In the United States, the emergency phone number is 9-1-1, which provides the same essential emergency services as 9-9-9. Describe the nature of the incident and respond to the dispatcher’s questions. If travelers are unsure of their location, they should provide the nearest street address and the street name, or ask someone nearby.
If a tourist is involved in an automobile accident and if he or she has obtained the proper insurance, he or she will have little involvement in subsequent proceedings beyond making a statement to the insurance company and providing copies of the police report. In the United States, the at-fault party’s insurance generally pays for the damages. In such a case, the victim contacts the at-fault party’s insurance and initiates a claim by phone. The insurer will send out an independent adjuster to inspect the damages and recommend a payment amount.
Victims who are not adequately insured can seek legal counsel in the United States and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, this is expensive, time-consuming, and with planning, unnecessary. With just a few simple precautions, filing a claim for injuries to persons or vehicles will not be necessary. Insurers will subrogate the claims, allowing victims to heal quickly and get on with their vacations.
Akilah S. Richards has worked as a legal assistant in the area of personal injury, and knows how effective an experienced lawyer can be in helping manage the accompanying stress and legal necessities of an accident. If you or someone you love has been hurt, possibly due to someone else’s negligence, consider contacting Michael P Doyle of Doyle Raizner, LLP for sound advice on what to do next.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasjm980/8055665322/