This summer, millions of families will set off for a few weeks of rest and relaxation, returning with souvenirs and lasting memories. But accidents happen — even on vacations — and a few unlucky people will come back with something far worse than stories of lost luggage and missed flights.

I want you to take a well-deserved break and enjoy the time with your loved ones, so I hope my advice below doesn’t apply to you. However, it’s important to know what to do should an accident arise. The fact is, vacation injuries are shockingly common, and you can never be too prepared.

Most Common Vacation Accidents

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), injuries are the leading cause of preventable death in travelers. It isn’t too surprising that injuries are so prevalent; travel requires you to explore unfamiliar surroundings, in some cases ones where there are environmental hazards or risky sightseeing. Here are some of the most common injuries.

Road traffic injuries. Road traffic crashes are the leading cause of injury deaths to Americans traveling overseas. Motorcycles are a particularly high risk factor; according to the CDC, approximately 20% of road traffic deaths abroad were motorcycle-related in 2013 and 2014.

Slip and fall accidents. The nature of travel is somewhat conducive to slip and falls, as you may be exploring ancient sites with narrow staircases or walking up and down steep cobblestone streets. Slip trips or falls can even occur in hotels.

Water injuries. If you’re traveling to a coastal destination, please be cautious when partaking in water recreation. According to the CDC, drowning accounted for 13% of all deaths of US citizens abroad in 2013 and 2014. Many of these deaths were related to travelers’ unfamiliarity with water currents and conditions;  inexperienced swimming; and the absence of lifeguards. Diving into shallow water can cause head and spinal cord injuries if you aren’t careful. If you are scuba diving, it is crucial to have experience yourself or only go with a licensed instructor. Boating can also be hazardous; during 2013 and 2014, 16 Americans died from maritime accidents.

Preventative Measures

– Consider purchasing traveler’s health insurance before your trip, especially if there isn’t access to quality medical care in your destination.
– Avoid local, unscheduled small aircrafts and refrain from flying in inclement weather.
– Bring or buy safety gear at your destination: a child seat approved for airplanes, if traveling with a small child; helmets if you’ll be using motorbikes; and life preserves for water recreation.

What To Do If You’re Injured

1) First and foremost, seek medical care immediately.
2) Be prepared with copies of important identification documents.
3) Document all the details, and collect information for others involved in the accident.
4) As with accidents at home, what you say can be used against you, even if it is clear that you were not at fault. Limit what you say, and under no circumstances take the blame.
5) Do not sign any documents, especially if you’re not sure what you’re signing.

Get help from a Memphis personal injury lawyer.

If you’re injured during your vacation, you could be entitled to recover compensation, and it’s important to work with an experienced legal team. An accident abroad can do more than just ruin your vacation; the consequences and financial toll can last long after you return home. You deserve a legal team who will fight for you. We’ve helped accident victims for more than 30 years and know how to navigate the complicated insurance process. Call (901) 327-2100 or contact us here to speak with a qualified Memphis personal injury lawyer.