When Death or an Injury Occur While Traveling Abroad

The latest death toll of U.S. tourists who died in the Dominican Republic in 2019 is 11. There are numerous speculations to the cause of deaths. Various news outlets have reported some of those deaths may be due to tainted alcohol and victims suffering from poor health and heart attacks. Few autopsies have been done on the victims’ bodies. The reported symptoms have been extensive vomiting, high fever, and respiratory distress. The deaths of New York City couple Orlando Moore, 40, and Portia Ravenelle, 52, who died in Dominican Republic were attributed to a car accident.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is currently investigating if fake alcohol might have played a factor in some of the other deaths. They took alcohol samples from hotels where some of the deaths occurred, and they are expected to release a toxicology report. Last year, it was reported that 13 U.S. citizens died while visiting the island. 17 died in 2017 and according to tourists’ web sites, an average of 2.7 million Americans had visited the island in 2017. The Dominican Republic is the fourth most popular travel destination for Americans wishing to travel to the Caribbean.

The Dominican Republic is not the only international destination where U.S. tourists have reportedly died or been injured. Earlier this week Newsweek reported that a passenger on the Symphony of the Sea cruise ship that was on its way from St. Kitts to St Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands plunged overboard. Video footage taken by another passenger showed a rescue boat being dropped into the sea. It also showed the unnamed man’s body being pulled out of the water and then being taken back to the cruise ship.

In 2009, a hotel guest at the Epic Hotel in Miami was killed and two others got sick from what New York Times said was due to Legionella, the cause of Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia. According to the newspaper, the hotel’s “water filter removed too much chlorine, possibly allowing the spread of a rare bacteria.”

Accidents occur all the time. It is recommended that travelers obtain coverage for health insurance while on vacation. If you sustain an injury while traveling abroad, we recommend you take the following steps:

  1. Seek media attention immediately
  2. Document your injuries
  3. Get copies of medical records or hospital records
  4. Report the accident to local authorities/ U.S. Embassy
  5. Visit you doctor when you arrive in the U.S.
  6. Contact a personal injury attorney