Thursday April 6, 2017

Sun Seekers and Injuries in Paradise

Authored by: David S.R. Parker Posted in: Personal Injury

With the continuous cold weather in Nova Scotia, many of us are heading to warmer climates for a break, some fun and a sunburn. The last thing we want to think about is the possibility of getting injured on that fun-filled excursion activity (a boat trip, parasailing activity, scuba diving experience or zip line excursion etc.); However, such excursions are readily available (and aggressively marketed) at many resorts in multiple sun destinations.  Even activities such as swimming at an unknown beach can present unanticipated dangers so it’s important to always ensure you have proper insurance coverage, even for short trips.

You may not realize that the laws in other countries dealing with regulation of excursions and activities and the ability to claim compensation for personal injuries are very different from Canada or are completely non-existent. Many of these activities are run by untrained, inexperienced and non-professional operators. The onus is on you to investigate, look at equipment and ask the right questions prior to signing up and taking part in any risky activity.  You would be better to avoid such activities unless you are absolutely sure the activity can be done safely or you are willing to risk injury.

Many resorts will require you to sign a “waiver” that eliminates your right to sue for damages, and such “waivers” will often protect the resort or operator from their own negligence.  In some cases, the resort will require you to sign registration documents that contain a “forum selection clause” that will specify that a legal action can only be commenced in the jurisdiction chosen by the resort and that the law of that jurisdiction applies.  This can make it very difficult and impossibly expensive to bring a legal action or to present proper evidence to prove a claim.  The best advice is to visit destinations which have a similar legal system to Canada.

If you are unlucky enough to get injured while on vacation, obtaining compensation will depend on the country you were vacationing in and the circumstances of the injury.  Such claims are very difficult to successfully advance, given the different laws involved.  Generally, the Canadian rule of law is to apply the laws of jurisdiction where the injury occurred to any claim you bring.  In many cases, you cannot bring an action in Canada for personal injury damages because of the rules of jurisdiction and forum.  Further, the legal systems in some countries do not recognize personal injury claims and you will be out of luck.

Last – remember that if you are renting a car anywhere outside the USA or Canada, you will need liability and property damage insurance coverage, as your own Canadian motor vehicle policy does not provide coverage outside Canada or the USA.

If you do suffer an injury, speak to a Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer immediately.  There may be possible claims against the travel agency or resort that can be brought in Nova Scotia, depending on circumstances and details of the contract.  To arrange a free half hour consultation and to speak with a Personal Injury Lawyer call or email us today.

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