Travel of any kind, whether for business or pleasure, carries with it some inherent risks, even if that travel is within a home country. When the trip is to a foreign country, for example a visit to the United States, it is important to be aware of the laws and rules of the destination country and to know how to take care of oneself in the event of an accident or injury.
Finding information about laws in the United States is relatively straightforward. Keep in mind that, while the United States is a single country, each individual state has its own sovereignty; meaning that what may be permissible in one state may be illegal in another. For example, currently the States of Colorado and Washington permit the purchase and possession of marijuana, but other states do not. In this instance, being stopped while in possession of even a small amount could lead to a traveler being arrested.
One of the best sources for legal information is the Internet. The Law Library of Congress has a guide for each state and US territory that may be accessed online. Also visit the government page for the state or states that will be visited and compare rules and laws. If there is time, contact the destination city or state travel bureau as they can provide additional information about their laws, as well as suggest additional research books or sites. Finally, look for unusual laws or rules that, while obscure, are still on the books and could be relevant; this is important when visiting southern states.
Travel-related injuries can run the gamut from minor scrapes, cuts and burns to more severe injuries such as fractures, penetrating trauma or head trauma. These types of injuries can occur anywhere: in the hotel or on the property; at a local attraction or venue; or while enjoying a boat ride or other form of transportation. Motor vehicle accidents are some of the most common travel-related accidents and the injuries involved can be serious, with some having long-term consequences. Back and neck injuries, head trauma and other injuries commonly seen in motor vehicle accidents may necessitate a traveler needing care for a long time.
Illness is also common when traveling and, while some illness are preventable with proper preparation and precautions, other illnesses may occur due to negligence on the part of a hotel, restaurant or cruise ship.
Whether it is illness or an accident that is experienced while on vacation, the first thing that must be done is to properly document it by seeking the proper medical treatment immediately and, in the case of an accident, documenting the incident thoroughly by taking pictures and even collecting witness accounts. Get in touch with a personal injury firm as soon as possible and be sure to see a personal physician upon returning home from the trip.
Taking the time to research and prepare for a trip to the US will help to prevent potential injuries and accidents, as well as provide the tools needed to deal with any emergencies safely and effectively.