Injuries While Traveling – Protecting Your Legal Rights
Last week, we explained how it can be challenging to bring a lawsuit in a foreign country if you are injured while traveling abroad. This post looks at some of the ways that travelers can make it more likely that a case will be heard in a Canadian jurisdiction, which can assist them in the process of advancing a personal injury claim.
How foreign resorts and travel companies avoid liability for personal injuries
Many resorts, agencies, tour companies and other travel-related businesses in foreign countries have developed legal structures to avoid the jurisdiction of other courts, including Canada, and take steps to avoid connections between themselves as a legal entity, and Canada as a country. This leaves the Canadian courts without jurisdiction, forcing anyone injured while traveling to sue the company in a foreign country.
Some of the ways a foreign company may avoid Canadian jurisdiction include having no Canadian offices, employees or agents connected to the corporation. They undertake no direct advertising or bookings to individual travelers. Instead all marketing and planning goes through local travel companies that purchase rooms or packages and act as go-betweens to facilitate sales. They may also have opaque and complex ownership structures which include multiple businesses, shell companies, and offshore holding corporations in various other jurisdictions. These can make it extremely challenging to even identify the entity that bears legal liability, and the appropriate jurisdiction for a legal claim.
Some things for Canadian travelers to look out for
The methods discussed above create situations where many Canadians have been denied the right to sue in Canada after being injured while traveling. Even where liability can be established and a foreign claim is successful, collecting from a company abroad is, in itself, fraught with difficulty.
Canadians heading to another country on vacation can take some steps to protect themselves. These include booking with Canadian-owned resorts and tour companies. This information should be available on a reputable company website, or by contacting the corporation directly. When booking through an agency or tour company, choose one that is based locally within your home province, ideally as close to home as possible.
What to do if you are injured while traveling
If you, or someone in your family, suffered an injury while traveling, the first step after getting settled back at home should be reaching out to a personal injury lawyer that has experience dealing with international accidents. At Derfel Injury Law, we regularly advise clients about personal injury claims against foreign hotels, resorts and travel agencies. We can also provide assistance with travel insurance claims, and disputes relating to insurance coverage.