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You’re not in Canada anymore

I am typing this on my last day of a week with my family in Mexico.

Want a tip?  E-mail me and I’ll send you some tips….particularly useful if you travel with three children, aged 5, 7 and 9.

Oh, and don’t worry.  Unlike those in Mexico who give advice, I will do so motivated only by helping you, not by lining my pockets with kickbacks from tour companies and others who might benefit from the way my advice might cause you to spend money.

My family and me – we stayed at a 5 star resort on the Myan Riviera.  It is a beautiful place, with all you can eat and all you can drink.

Top of the line.  Omelettes made to order for breakfast, with a bottomless cerveza to carry you through for the rest of the day.

But….and it’s a huge but…particularly with bottomless cerveza…

Safety is nowhere near what you have become accustomed to in Canada.

It’s probably not something that would jump out at you if you are not in the injury business.  One of many, many examples is a “lazy river” where you can float, half-lit, with a beer in your hand.  They supply tubes to sit on.

I sat there, mojito in hand, watching people mount those tubes at the beginning of the “river”.

Most men there have a belly bigger than mine.  Their weight distribution causes them often to flip backwards off the tube as they try to get comfortable, drink in hand.  Yes, that was fun to watch…most of them Americans.

But my giggles were kept in check by the reality that their heads could just as well crack against the side of the narrow “lazy river”, as harmlessly slip under the surface for a somersault.

The hair at the back of my head stood on end as I watched children, and teenagers, jump into the lazy river to land on their tubes.  You can jump up and warn them only so many times before they are looking at you with the contempt that they look at their over-protective parents.

You would never, ever, ever find such a dangerous situation in Canada.  No.  In Canada, allowing such a dangerous situation to exist is called negligence.  In Canada, you can sue the owner of the property for compensation for the losses you suffer as a result of an injury caused as a result of an unreasonable danger.

Your entitlement to compensation, in Canada, is for fair compensation.  That’s all.  Nothing more than fair.  When you count up the lost income arising from a brain injury caused to a young person, though, that compensation is huge.

Huge compensation for danger, in our capitalistic society, where insurance companies insure against risk, results in decreased danger.  Insurance companies make sure that risk is minimized.

Take our provincial automobile insurer for example.  See the billboards trying to convince us to drive safe?  Dollars spent to improve our driving are dollars spent reducing claims.  I wish the billboards were bigger.

My advice? E-mail me if you want tips for how to have fun with three little kids on an all-inclusive trip to Mexico. I’ll give you the straight goods.

As for personal injury claims in Mexico?  You are not in Canada.  There are different laws.  There are different rules.  Don’t relax and assume everything will be safe like you have been accustomed to be able to do here.  Be vigilant about the safety of yourself and your family.  Take extra care, particularly with a mojito in your hand.

Published April 10, 2011 in the Kelowna Capital News