A recent case involving a woman stranded in Las Vegas by a tour company has thrown light on the liability of these companies when tourists are injured or taken ill. Tour companies have always had a certain legal responsibility to those who choose to take a paid tour, but now the question arises as to the possible limits of that responsibility. Kathy Kopec booked a $99 weekend bus trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas with her friends through Especially 4-U Tours. While on the tour, she was hospitalized with a serious illness. She preferred to be treated in her hometown and arranged to be discharged from the hospital. However, when Kopec attempted to return to the tour, the owners required doctor’s clearance to travel. They claimed that they would pick her up from her hotel but then refused to do so, claiming that the medical issues would be “disruptive” to the other passengers. The bus returned to Phoenix without Kopec and her friend, Rose Woodman, leaving them to wander the streets of Las Vegas. Though they were eventually returned home, both claim that they suffered emotional distress and expenses from the incident.
DO TOUR COMPANIES HAVE A DUTY OF CARE TO TOURISTS?
When tourists book a trip with a tour company, they have the right to expect that they will receive certain protections from the company. For example, companies should always maintain tour buses in good condition to prevent accidents due to mechanical malfunctions. Tour buses, especially those that cater to elderly groups, should be fully equipped with safety features and should be driven by professional drivers who are properly licensed and trained. However, the question of the duty of care a tour company owes its passengers when they experience difficulty not related to the tour is a bit more complicated. In general, the courts look at the contract, if one exists, between the tour company and the tourist for guidance. However, a judge or jury can also decide that a company has breached normal duty of care to a tourist even if a situation is not covered by a contract.
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WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE SUFFERED AN ACCIDENT OR INJURY WHILE ON A TOUR?
If you have been injured while on a tour, contact the attorneys at Bernstein & Poisson in Las Vegas today. These attorneys have years of experience in representing those injured while on tours through accidents or other types of injury. Call today for a free consultation.