Summer holidays are a great time to travel. But when accidents happen on vacation, victims are often faced with challenges they never expected. In this post, we explain 4 common problems plaintiffs face when they are accidentally injured while travelling.
- Accessing Hospital Services
When travelling within Canada, a valid provincial or territorial health card should enable injured parties to access hospital and physician services. The Canada Health Act has a “portability clause” that extends medically necessary coverage to eligible residents during visits to other provinces or territories. The way this portability is administered, however, is not consistent between jurisdictions. Sometimes the costs are handled by direct billing, but in other situations patients may have to pay up front, then seek reimbursement from their home province or territory.
Whether vacationing inside or outside of Canada, it is highly recommended that travellers contact their provincial health care office in advance to determine if any coverage will follow to the foreign jurisdiction. In addition, it is important to carefully review the provisions of privately obtained medical coverage before your trip, so you know what will be covered in the event of an emergency, and how to access that coverage.
- Accessing Non-Hospital Services
When accidents happen, one of the most common non-hospital services required is on-site emergency paramedic care and transportation by ambulance. Whether it is a short ground ambulance trip to the nearest hospital, or an airlift back to your home jurisdiction, these services can be very expensive, and are generally not covered by provincial or territorial health. Accident victims will generally need to look to private medical/ travel insurance for coverage of these bills, or other medically necessary expenses like wheelchairs, crutches, or physical therapy.
- Dealing With Denied Claims
Even when travellers have proactively obtained private medical coverage before leaving on vacation, claims for reimbursement can be denied for a wide variety of reasons. Failing to disclose pre-existing conditions, failing to get pre-approval for medical treatment, or making claims for expenses not covered by a policy are three common reasons for denial. When relying on private insurance, it is highly recommended that injured parties notify their insurer as quickly as possible, and to stay in contact as exposure to expenses arise.
- Laws In Foreign Jurisdictions
The general rule of thumb is that the law of the land where the injury happens is the law that governs your claim. Even within Canada, some jurisdictions are “no-fault” for certain kinds of accidental injuries, while others are tort based jurisdictions, and others have a mix of fault and no-fault claims. Outside of Canada, the legal remedies available for victims of accidental injuries varies widely.