Boat Accident Lawyers in Tulsa, OK
Fighting for Oklahoma boating accident victims and their families
Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma have many local attractions including beautiful gardens, hiking trails, and numerous lakes. Some of the many waterways that transport boats of varying shapes and sizes in and around Tulsa include Oologah Lake, Skiatook Lake, Grand Lake, Keystone Lake, and Lake Hudson. The Arkansas River runs through the city. On any given day, you can see speedboats, motorboats, jet skis, sailboats, and other types of pleasure watercraft on the waterways.
Sadly, many boating accidents cause deaths or serious injuries to the people in the boats, people in other boats, and swimmers. At Biby Law Firm, our seasoned boating accident lawyers represent anyone who is injured in a boating accident. We also file wrongful death claims on behalf of the family members of any relative who tragically drowns or dies in a boating accident. Our lawyers have an impressive record of success in settling and trying personal injury cases. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.
Boating accident statistics
According to US Coast Guard boating statistics for 2020:
- The top five types of boating accidents are collisions with a recreational vehicle, flooding, collision with a fixed object, grounding, and falling overboard.
- The top five types of boats involved in waterway accidents are open motorboats, personal watercraft, cabin motorboats, pontoons, and canoes/kayaks.
- Of the 534 recorded boating accident fatalities for 2020, 450 were not wearing a life jacket. Of the 152 deaths due to trauma, 88 were not wearing a life jacket.
Why do boating accidents happen?
There’s normally no excuse for a boating accident. Operators and boat owners need to understand the rules of navigation. They need to be trained on how to operate their boats in all types of weather. Some of the common types of conduct that cause Tulsa boating accidents include:
- Operator negligence or recklessness. The operator of any type of boat should make sure everyone is in their proper position. Moving around a boat can cause an operator to lose control. Operators need to understand how to handle different types of waves. Negligence includes overloading a boat or not having the correct equipment for the boat. It can also include:
- Speeding. Operating a speed boat, jet ski, or any other type of watercraft requires that the operators understand the speed rules for the type of water they’re navigating. Operators also need to ensure their boat isn’t going too fast for the water and/or weather conditions. It is especially critical to operate at low speeds when slower boats and people are nearby.
- Operator intoxication. Operators of any type of watercraft are subject to the same intoxication standards as car drivers and truck drivers. An operator can be charged with driving a boat while impaired if their blood alcohol content (BAC) level is .08 or more. Sadly, too many boat owners think it is OK to join the pleasures of drinking with the pleasure of being in the open water. It’s not OK.
- Operating in bad weather. A rainstorm or windstorm can appear in an instant - making operation of the boat nearly impossible. Boat operators should check the forecast to get ashore as soon as possible. Pleasure watercraft operators should also get ashore when it is dark. Operators should understand what safety steps to take if it does rain, the wind is intense, or the sun is too strong.
- Failure to follow the rules of navigation. Operators need to understand which boats have the right of way, where the operators should be in relation to other boats, the proper speed limits for the type of water the boat is in, and many other rules of the water.
- Operator inexperience. Each type of boat requires unique skills. Jet skis are different than speedboats which are different than sailboats. All boat operators should take classes on learning how to operate their specific type of watercraft. Operators of motorboats are required to take approved courses.
- Product defect or failure. Like any product, sometimes the cause of a boating accident can be traced back to a potentially defective design of the boat itself or a component thereof. Similarly, safety features designed to protect boaters or others nearby can fail through no fault of the operator, oftentimes leading to more severe injuries or death when, had the safety feature performed as intended, the significant injuries likely would have avoided.
Boat captains and operators should understand the dos and don’ts of pulling a water skier. Operators should make sure their sightlines are clear at all times.
What are the common types of boating accidents around Tulsa?
Most boating accidents involve:
- A boat capsize
- A boat colliding with another boat or with people
- Drowning accidents
- Someone falling overboard
- Being cut by a propeller
How can I avoid crashing my boat in Tulsa?
Boat captains and operators can benefit from boating courses offered by the State. These courses are usually free, and are a good first step to promoting boat safety. Once you’re out on the water, however, you need to operate your vessel like you would operate your car – by remembering you only have control over your own actions. That means you should:
- Keep sober.
- Check the forecast.
- Make sure everyone has a life jacket and/or a flotation device.
- Inspect the boat from bow to stern.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on the boat.
- Stick to a steady speed and don’t try to cross over waves.
Who is liable for a boating accident that happens in or near Tulsa?
At Biby Law Firm, we file claims against every defendant who may be liable for your accident. We file claims in the appropriate court which may be Oklahoma state court, Oklahoma federal court, or admiralty court.
Defendants may include:
- The operator of the boat.
- The owners of the boat.
- Any company that rented the operator a motorboat, jet ski, kayak, or other pleasure waterway craft.
- The makers of any defective boat parts.
- Other defendants depending on how the accident occurred.
We file claims based on negligence in most cases. If a defective engine, propellor, or other boat part caused your injuries or the death of a loved one, we file a claim based on Oklahoma’s product liability laws.
How much is my Tulsa boating accident case worth?
Common injuries from boating accidents include head trauma, spinal cord damage, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, and respiratory disorders. When someone causes your boating accident injuries, we demand compensation for:
- All your medical expenses including emergency room care, surgeries, doctor visits, rehabilitative therapy, medications, and assistive devices.
- Any income loss because you cannot work and because you may never be able to work again.
- All your physical pain and emotional suffering.
- The damage to your boat if the other boat struck your boat.
- Loss of consortium damages which are damages for the way your injuries affect your marriage
- Any scarring or disfigurement.
If the person who caused the accident was reckless, we file a claim for punitive damages. For example, if the operator was intoxicated when the accident occurred, the operator may be liable for punitive damages.
If a loved one died, we file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family. Damages in a wrongful death case include:
- The funeral and burial costs.
- The mental pain and anguish of the decedent before he/she died.
- The loss of financial support the decedent would have provided had he/she lived.
- The loss of consortium and grief of the surviving spouse.
- The grief and loss of companionships of the surviving children and parents.
Injured in a boat accident? Call Biby Law Firm in Tulsa for help
At Biby Law Firm, our Tulsa boating accident lawyers work with investigators and boating professionals to determine how the accident happened and who should be held responsible. We work with your doctors to fully understand how serious your injuries are and how much pain and suffering you are enduring. Our lawyers will guide you through each step of the litigation process, answering all your questions along the way. To speak with a seasoned Tulsa boating accident attorney, call us at 918-574-8458 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.