What Are the Basics of Boating Liability in Oklahoma?
Summer is right around the bend and like all of you, we’re looking forward to enjoying Oklahoma’s many lakes and waterways. What many people don’t realize, however, is that boating can be extremely dangerous. Crashes, defective boat parts, and negligence all put boat enthusiasts at risk on the water.
Keep reading to learn how to protect yourself and your family — and how an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer can help if you’re harmed while on the water.
What Causes Oklahoma Boating Accidents?
According to the United States Coast Guard, in 2017, 658 people died and more than 2,600 were injured in boating accidents. The most common underlying cause of these crashes was human error — including careless driving, reckless or negligent operations, and boating while intoxicated. These behaviors most commonly led to water vehicle crashes and drownings. In drowning cases, 85% of victims weren’t wearing a lifejacket.
Defective Equipment Causes Boating Injuries
Negligence doesn’t cause all boating accidents. Sometimes, defective equipment seriously harms passengers and drivers through no fault of their own. Common malfunctions include engine explosions and fires, as well as machinery or system failures.
Product malfunctions are serious. If you have been harmed by a defective boat, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you asses your options and get justice for your injuries and damages.
Common Boating Injuries
Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions we take, boating activities can still lead to serious injuries — whether they’re caused by defective equipment or the negligence of others. Common injuries caused by boating accidents include:
- Burns from engine fires or explosions
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Whiplash, concussions, and sprains from falling
Who Is Liable in an Oklahoma Boating Accident?
The first step in determining fault is investigating the accident. Reviewing police reports, witness testimony, and evidence from the boat (or boats) involved helps paint a picture of what happened during the accident and why. Having a proven, dedicated lawyer on your side is critical in establishing fault and helping you get compensation for your suffering, especially in complicated crashes involving multiple vehicles.
Water Safety Tips
It’s important to follow boating safety tips while enjoying the water in Oklahoma to keep you and other boaters safe.
- Avoid boating in inclement weather: The easiest accidents to avoid are the ones caused by boating in bad weather. If you’re planning a day on the lake, make sure you check the weather and don’t hesitate to change plans when dark clouds roll in.
- Always make sure the driver is safe to drive: Never get on a boat with a driver who is under the influence or doesn’t have the proper training or ability to safely operate the vessel.
- Make sure there’s an assistant skipper aboard: It’s always a good idea to have someone on board who can take the helm if something goes wrong.
- Make sure your boat is in ship-shape: Avoid boating disaster by ensuring your vessel is stocked with safety essentials, such as life jackets, navigation equipment, distress signals, extra fuel, and working fire extinguishers.
- Have a plan if things go wrong: It’s important to always have a back-up plan in case something goes wrong. All passengers should know where the boat’s safety equipment is and how to use each piece. There should be enough life jackets for everyone, and the boat operator and other responsible adults should review the vessel’s safety protocols before leaving shore.
Contact Atkins & Markoff If You’ve Been Injured on the Water
At Atkins & Markoff, we have a proven record of passionate, dedicated representation with results that speak for themselves. If you or someone you love has been harmed in a boating accident, please contact us. We’ll evaluate your case for free and discuss your legal options with you to determine the best course of action.
(2017) 2017 Recreational Boating Statistics. U.S. Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety. Retrieved from https://www.uscgboating.org/library/accident-statistics/Recreational-Boating-Statistics-2017.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.