Injured on Vacation? Here’s What You Need to Know
This time of year, millions of Canadians book package vacations to escape the winter weather. Unfortunately, a small number of these travelers may be seriously injured while they are visiting a foreign hotel or resort, or engaged in an activity while they are on vacation. If this injury was the result of negligence, obtaining compensation in another country can be extremely difficult.
In this two part series, we will discuss why it can be so challenging to sue in a foreign country, and how vacationers can take steps to protect themselves in the rare event of a serious accident.
What is jurisdiction and why does it matter?
In order for a court to decide a lawsuit, it must have “jurisdiction” to hear the matter. If you are injured as the result of negligence, you may bring a lawsuit in Ontario where there is a sufficient connection between yourself, the injury, and the negligent party, to the province and its laws.
However, if you are injured while traveling in another country, you may not be able to sue in Ontario, because there may not be enough to bring the incident in to the court’s jurisdiction. In other words, you may need to sue in the country where the accident occurred.
Challenges of bringing a lawsuit in another country
Bringing a lawsuit in any circumstance can be a challenging process. It can demand a significant amount of time, attention and emotional energy. For injured claimants, an experienced local lawyer can be of enormous assistance in guiding them through the process.
In another country, there is no way to benefit from this type of assistance. There are significant logistical challenges bringing a lawsuit in another jurisdiction. Communication is more difficult, and you may not speak the same language as your lawyer. Medical opinions, examinations and documents may need to be translated.
Foreign laws may also be less favourable to plaintiffs compared to Ontario. There may be restrictions on compensation, including much shorter limitation periods. In some cases, hotel contracts or activity waivers may contain language that seeks to limit your right to sue, and these could be interpreted very strictly.
Get prompt legal advice if you were injured on vacation
If you, or a family member, was injured while traveling in another country and feel that another party was negligent, don’t hesitate before reaching out for advice. Our personal injury lawyers have experience handling claims that arise while traveling, and can assist clients that have suffered personal injuries on vacation.