If you’re widowed, separated, or divorced, you may need to rely on yourself for your own financial security. Injuries during summer vacation aren’t fun, but unfortunately, trips to the ER are quite common and can be very expensive.
That’s why you need to take the proper steps to prevent injuries and protect your legal rights if you’re involved in an accident.
Step 1: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
First and foremost, you need to understand your rights and responsibilities. Know the state-by-state laws that will apply to you where you plan to travel, including traffic laws, motorcycle helmet laws, seat belt laws, drunk driving laws, cell phone and texting laws, etc. Even if you’re from another state, you must follow the laws that pertain to wherever you are. If you fail to do so, you could face fines, jail time, and compromise your legal rights if you’re injured.
Your Pennsylvania auto insurance policy will almost always determine your rights, and your first-party medical benefits coverage should “follow” you if you travel to another state – or even out of the country.
Keep in mind, however, that every state has its own set of conditions that could affect your claim. If you’re seriously injured and need compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, you should consider contacting an attorney in your home state to protect your legal rights.
Remember: Now’s the time to review your insurance policy and make sure you understand your coverage. If you have questions about how your insurance policy applies when you’re out of state, ask your insurance agent.
Also, if you have a boat, ATV, motorcycle, or another type of motor vehicle, make sure you have insurance policies covering them. Medical benefits may not be available with these policies, so you should have other health insurance coverage.
Step 2: Follow These Summer Vacation Safety Tips
As someone who is widowed, divorced, or separated, avoiding injuries may be especially important. Here are just a few summer vacation safety tips:
- Never drive or operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Not only is it illegal, but statistics show you run a much higher risk of being involved in an accident.
- Drive defensively. Highways are often more congested during the summer, especially during holiday weekends. It’s critical to remain alert at all times to give yourself the best chance to avoid an accident. You may want to consider traveling during the week and avoiding highways during rush hour if at all possible.
- Never dive into shallow water or run near a pool, and know how to avoid ocean rip currents, which are a common cause of adult drowning accidents. Always keep a phone nearby in case of emergency.
- Remember proper food safety guidelines if you plan on picnicking or cooking out during your summer vacation.
- Use common sense. If an activity or situation seems potentially dangerous, it’s best to avoid it. Suffering injuries while on vacation may be even more stressful than if you were close to home.
Step 3: Know What to Do After an Accident
If you’re involved in an accident, call 9-1-1 and get medical attention for you or anyone injured in an accident. Report the accident to the police or file an incident report with management, depending on the type of accident. Ask for a copy of the report, and keep copies of your medical bills.
Evidence varies based on the type of accident, but generally you should take photos of your injuries and anything that you think will help protect your legal rights.
Next, collect information from other parties involved in the accident, including witnesses. Lastly, be cautious with insurance companies. An attorney from your home state can help you determine whether an offer is reasonable. Above all, be careful what you say and sign.
Summer vacations are meant to be enjoyable – a great opportunity for people who are widowed, separated, or divorced to relax and have some fun. Don’t let an accident derail your trip and threaten your financial security.
Attorney Michael H. Rosenzweig has over 23 years of experience helping people injured in all types of accidents. He is a partner and litigation manager at Edgar Snyder & Associates, a Pittsburgh-based law firm that has helped over 40,000 people. For more information, visit EdgarSnyder.com.