Author: Ryan Murray
Many of us choose to get away from the cold climate of Ontario at this time of year. Numerous Ontarians will travel south this winter and stay for a week or two at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico or the Caribbean. Very few of us pause before travelling to consider what would happen if we suffered a serious injury while travelling in a foreign country.
If someone is injured in a foreign country the law that applies to any lawsuit brought by the injured person is the law of the country where the accident occurred. It goes without saying that laws in places like Cuba and Mexico are very different from the laws in Ontario. In addition, your Ontario auto insurance does not provide you with any protection when you are outside of Canada and the United States. Therefore if you are hurt in a car or bus crash in the Dominican Republic the only way you would recover damages is if the law of the Dominican Republic allowed you to do so and if the person or company at fault for the accident had insurance or substantial assets.
How can we protect ourselves before we travel? One way is to purchase travel insurance. This will provide you protection against the cost of unexpected emergencies. You can also check to make sure that your long-term disability and life insurance policies do not have an exclusion that might be triggered by travelling out of the country or by engaging in dangerous activities (e.g. kiteboarding or scuba diving).
There are very limited situations where a person injured in Mexico or the Caribbean would be allowed to sue in an Ontario court. It is therefore important if you are seriously injured in a foreign country to consult an Ontario personal injury lawyer promptly after returning to the country.