With the weather we’ve had this year, there are many more people looking to take vacations for a change of scenery — and of course weather. While our first thought when thinking fondly of a vacation to some exotic and tropical place may involve a picture of a palm tree or beautiful beach, sometimes even the best-made vacation plans are interrupted by an unfortunate accident or injury. When this happens out of the country, it can be an even more difficult situation to navigate. It is important to consider worst case scenarios when planning for travel, especially when that travel is outside of Canada and/or Ontario.
What starts as a joyful and restful respite can transition quickly to a nightmare in the wrong circumstance. Preparing for those scenarios in advance can certainly help make this unfortunate process better for travelers.
When faced with an injury that occurs away from your hometown or perhaps even your home country, often complex legal issues arise with regard to having such injuries addressed and recovering damages that have been caused by such an injury.
Our personal injury lawyers can meet with you for a free initial consultation. Call (416) 364-2000
How does insurance coverage apply to injuries faced outside of Ontario?
While residents of Ontario are generally covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) and this coverage does follow residents where they go, it very often does not fully cover the cost of out of country care which may be very expensive if an injury or illness is suffered while outside of Ontario.
If you plan to travel outside of Ontario while on vacation, it is very important to research in order to fully understand what the OHIP covers when an injury or illness occurs while outside of Ontario and Canada.
There are always additional private health insurance or elective travel coverages that can be purchased. For obvious reasons, this may be worth while depending on where you are travelling and perhaps also how frequent your travel takes you outside of Ontario and/or Canada.
Is travel insurance a good idea?
One of the options that exists for travelers today is the purchase of additional travel insurance. Often this is available for purchase through private insurance companies, banks, airlines, travel agents, and other travel websites. Travel insurance can be very helpful in the right circumstance.
Some travel insurance policies will provide insurance coverage for medical expenses and injuries suffered while on vacation, as well as items like lost or stolen luggage or other property. If proper research is done concerning what is covered by a travel insurance policy, this can be a relatively low-cost safety net that may help out in the unfortunate incident of an injury or illness that occurs while you are outside Canada and/or Ontario.
The important point is to determine what a particular policy covers and how that would apply in the circumstances under which you are travelling. If it is a good fit, travel insurance can be extremely beneficial, albeit hopefully not needed.
What steps should you take if facing an injury or illness while vacationing outside the country?
If you are injured while on vacation outside of Canada and/or Ontario, there are some important steps to take:
First, it is very important to contact your insurance provider, your hotel/resort, and travel agency as soon as possible.
It is also advisable to contact the Canadian Consulate in the jurisdiction where you are travelling as the Consulate may be able to assist with locating physicians and helping with other emergency services as well as contacting your family if necessary.
Your credit card may also have coverage and they can assist you in locating a doctor.
You may also need assistance with translation if you are in a location where the language spoken is not your native language. This can be very important as undertaking proper medical treatment requires an understanding of what is being said in order to make proper treatment decisions. The hotel and/or consulate may be able to assist with translation services as may the medical provider.
Medical documentation and travel documents
Make sure that in addition to having copies of all of your travel documents with you at all times, that you also leave copies of those documents at home with a family member in case of emergency.
If possible, obtain as much information as you can about witnesses if the injury was caused by someone else’s conduct or negligence. If law enforcement is involved with the incident that caused the injury or illness, be sure to obtain all contact information for necessary law enforcement personnel so that this is easily available to you when you return home.
Obtain copies of any and all pertinent medical documentation that is available before you leave the jurisdiction. It is also advisable to ensure that you have all contact information for anyone that was involved in your treatment in any way so that if follow up contact is necessary, that information is readily available to you.
Upon your return home, it is important to take prompt action to discuss your case with a competent personal injury lawyer. There may be relevant time periods, processes and other actions that need to be taken soon after you return and thus, the sooner you can secure competent legal advice, the better off you will be.
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Injuries during vacation can be complicated – a lawyer can help
If you are the unfortunate victim of an accident or injury that occurs while you are on vacation outside of Ontario, it is important that you take action to protect your rights as soon as possible. The most important step in that process is to seek competent legal help as soon as possible. This is because it is a complex and difficult process to have injuries addressed when the injuries occurred outside of Ontario. This important step in the process of seeking legal help will put you on the best path to having your injuries properly addressed.