Warning: Beware of Spring Break 2017 Accident Dangers

Warning: Beware of Spring Break 2017 Accident Dangers

Next week begins Spring Break Month here in Indiana and Illinois.  Children of every age, and their families, will get a week’s vacation from school activities.

March 2017 Spring Break Schedules for Indiana and Illinois

Colleges and universities will be taking a week off from classes at some point during March 2017.  Our local school districts, and the private educational institutions serving children from pre-K to graduating seniors, will also participate in a traditional week off for Spring Break.

Spring Break Calendars

Not every institution schedules Spring Break Week at the same time.  The University of Illinois at Chicago calendar has March 18-26, 2017, for Spring Break.  Purdue University’s Spring Break is set for March 11–19, 2017.

To find the dates for Spring Break 2017 scheduled for colleges and universities in Illinois and Indiana, go here.

School districts traditionally schedule their Spring Breaks so they do not overlap with college and university breaks. 

This year, for instance, the Indiana Math and Science Academy in Indianapolis will enjoy March 27-31, 2017 as their Spring Break.  The Indianapolis Public School calendar has March 20–31, 2017 for Spring Break. Chicago Public Schools (elementary through high school) have a week off from April 7–14, 2017.

Check with your child’s local school or district office to confirm the exact dates of their 2017 Spring Break.

Spring Break: A Time for Family Vacations and Student Party Plans

Parents plan family vacations during the week of Spring Break.  High school and college students have their own holiday plans.  Families with young children may be planning to fly to Disney World; a group of Purdue frat brothers may be anxious to explore the sandy beaches of South Padre Island.

While the tenor and tone of these two vacation groups may be very different, they have one thing in common.  Both groups face a very real risk of serious accidents and severe injuries over their Spring Break holiday.

Trips to Mexico over Spring Break

TripAdvisor has a long list of highly rated “family friendly” resorts in Mexico.   Many Mexican hotels offer Spring Break vacation family packages for Spring Break Travelers.  TakingtheKids.com offers a free e-book that includes Mexico attractions among its most popular family vacations.

Families here in Indiana and Illinois may be considering taking advantage of the current dollar-to-peso exchange rate as an added incentive to spend Spring Break in Mexico this year.  The Mexican peso is at “record lows” right now, according to CNBC.

Meanwhile, Mexico remains a very popular destination for college kids on Spring Break.  Special student travel packages are promoted for cheap all-inclusive trips to places like Cancun and Acapulco.  JusCollege.com has a big package prepared targeting students going to Cabo San Lucas for Spring Break 2017.

State Department Warning for Travel to Mexico

The State Department is concerned about Americans traveling to Mexico.  A travel warning has been issued by the federal government.  It warns citizens to be wary of vacationing in Mexico.   From the State Department:

“U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states.”

Cabo San Lucas, along with Cancun and Acapulco, are specifically listed as potentially dangerous for Spring Break vacationers in the travel advisory.

CDC Warns Spring Break Vacationers of Zika Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued its own travel warning for Spring Break vacation trips this year.  From the CDC comes the warning that travelers will be risking exposure to the Zika Virus when vacationing in Mexico.

From the CDC:

“If you travel to Mexico, you should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks after your trip, even if you don’t feel sick, so that you don’t spread Zika to uninfected mosquitoes that can spread the virus to other people.  If you have visited Mexico and have a pregnant partner, you should either use condoms or not have sex during the pregnancy.”

Variety of Accident Claims Based on Spring Break Injuries

So, from the federal government we have warnings of the dangers of viruses and violence in Mexico.  Those are serious concerns.

But there are other popular Spring Break destinations here in the United States (like Texas and Florida) where Spring Break vacations pose a danger of harm and accidental injury.  The same kinds of dangers that face us in our daily lives are higher for Spring Breakers.

In fact, one Indiana high school produced a series of Public Service Announcements warning students of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, targeting 2017 Spring Break.  The Greencastle High School student-produced videos will be shown at four Indiana high schools in the weeks leading up to Spring Break

Last year, we discussed the dangers of accidents over Spring Break.   There is a higher risk for things like car crashes, pedestrian accidents, and injuries sustained in sporting activities like swimming and parasailing.

People on vacation may be less guarded and cautious than they are at home.  Their risk for injury is higher.

Spring Break Accident Claims Can Be Complicated

For Spring Break vacations, accident claims get complicated quickly.  Why?

Jurisdiction: What Law Controls?

First of all, the laws of another jurisdiction may be involved.  If your son or daughter is hurt in a car crash in Miami, then Florida accident law will apply to her case.  Your Indiana or Illinois attorney will need the assistance of local counsel on the case.  Accidents in Mexico are even more complex, since the laws of another nation come into play.  Your local injury attorney will have to coordinate with Mexican legal counsel.

Insurance Coverage: What Policies Apply?

It may be puzzling to figure out what insurance coverage applies to the accident.  If your daughter is on a school trip to another state or country over Spring Break and is injured in a taxi cab accident involving a drunk driver, then what insurance policies cover her injuries?  There may be insurance coverage for (1) the trip itself; (2) the school district; (3) the taxi cab company; and (4) the drunk driver.  What coverage is there?  Which policy covers what damage?  Who pays first?

Sometimes, there is as much of a legal fight between the insurance carriers over who is financially responsible for the claim as there is over the liability and cause of the accident itself.

Being prepared lessens the likelihood of harm.  Many accidents are preventable.  Spring Break accidents that do happen should have justice.  Please have a wonderful and safe Spring Break Holiday! Let’s be careful out there!

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