Groups » The Most Common Summer Vacation Injuries

Whether traveling domestically for summer vacation, or heading to an exotic destination overseas, the season of travel brings with it wonderful memories, adventure, and fun. However, increased travel also escalates the number of personal injury claims filed by Americans who end up unexpectedly the victim of accident injury, illness, and tragic fatalities.

When packing a suitcase to "get away," the last thing anyone thinks about is the probability of a serious injury. The focus is on fun and excitement, not on preventative measures to protect yourself or your family from injuries. But, part of your check list for any vacation should be an action plan and review of safety needs before you leave to help reduce your risk of injury.

We share the six most common summer vacation injuries, and how travelers should promptly respond after a personal injury incident to ensure safety, and documentation measures that may be required in the event of a liability claim. Knowing what to do from a legal perspective helps families prepare to respond appropriately, and protect their rights in the event of negligence.

Outdoor Sports Injuries

Vacations are made for adventure and fun, and many travelers take advantage of the time and exotic locale to try new things, including parasailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, zip lining, and more. In many cases, a resort will provide a disclaimer about injury when organizing extreme sport activities for guests, but that does not mean that they cannot be held liable for negligence in the event that poor equipment, lack of instruction, supervision, or safety training contributes to a serious injury.

Advice for vacationers: Always look for reputable and highly rated tour and sport activity guides. Trip Advisor and other websites list local tour operators and provide a rating and comments to help vacationers avoid companies that have a bad safety track record.

Unsafe Food Preparation and Poisoning

Few people think of food poisoning as a personal injury, because our understanding of the condition downplays the potential seriousness and health risk that it can pose. Resorts that offer outdoor dining (which most do) offer an increased risk for food poisoning, given the volume of food being served, the difficulty in moderating food temperatures, as well as infection from other sources, including parasites and bacteria.

The average duration of a food poisoning incident is one week, and it is definitely an unpleasant set of symptoms. However, in some countries, there are increased risks associated with poor food handling and safety, including contracting Hepatitis or Malaria, which are serious health conditions. Other infections including Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Listeria, and Botulism can also result from poor food handling, many of which carry more significant long-term health risks and complications.

Advice for vacationers: If you contract food poisoning while on vacation, seek the advice of a doctor immediately. Sometimes, it is best to find a doctor who is external to the resort where you are staying, depending on circumstances, as he or she may be more unbiased and willing to help you document your case if the doctor are not hired by the resort for guest service. Ensure that you receive copies of your blood tests and examinations by the medical staff, and take pictures, or scan and email the documentation digitally to your home email address for safe keeping. If there are other guests who have become ill during your stay (under similar circumstances), ask them for their name and contact information, and a brief statement.

Carnival Ride Injuries

Thinking of heading to your local theme park or amusement venue? Did you know that children between the ages of 10 to 14 years account for 17.9 percent of all amusement park injuries, and sustain the most harm out of any age group? That is because high-speed rides can result in significant injuries, particularly for children and teens who are still growing, and who do not have the same muscular strength or bone density that adults have. If you were wondering why there is a height and age restriction, it has little to do with "slipping out" and more to do with the body’s ability to absorb G-force safely for children.

The most statistically common amusement park injuries and high-risk rides are:

  • Brain aneurysms from roller coasters, or jolting, fast-moving rides.
  • Stroke caused by trauma to neck ligaments.
  • Cerebral and retinal hemorrhage, subdural hematoma, headaches, and dizziness.
  • Lacerations (cuts), broken bones, and ligament tears.
  • Neck, head, and back injuries from bumping rides, or spinning high G-force rides.
  • Brain and spinal trauma.
  • Drowning or loss of consciousness on high-velocity water rides.
Virtually all professional amusement parks have a legal waiver and disclaimer that is acknowledged by the park guest when a ticket is purchased, according to a Chicago personal injury lawyer. However, certain injuries may still be found eligible for personal injury claims if the park, or its management or staff, are found to be deliberately negligent in safety protocols, which can include:
  • Mechanical ride failure due to component breakdown, manufacturers defect, or unwillingness to maintain safety checks and routine maintenance on the ride.
  • Inadequate safety instruction for guests and procedures, including fastening and double checking restraints, equipment, and providing clear "safe ride" instructions to each guest.
  • Improper or faulty design that results in clinical injury.
Depending on the size of the theme park, after any accident, a team of employees is dispatched (which includes the park’s safety team and legal counsel) to file a report and garner statements from the witnesses. This is done naturally to protect the park and accurately document the incident for liability reasons; ideally, you should do the same.

Advice for vacationers: As with any accident, it is advised for victims and their families to document with video, photography, and to record the details of the accident, including weather, the ride operator and instructions provided, the functionality of the equipment, and the response of the theme park.

It is important to advise consumers and clients that having an action plan in place (in the event of an accident) is the best way to ensure that a family can take immediate legal action following an injury. By discussing best practice before an accident occurs, families will be prepared to document appropriately (even under the stress) and protect their legal option to seek compensation for accidental injury.

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