A boat accident in Oklahoma can cause devastating injuries to those involved. With warmer weather of spring and summer soon to arrive in Oklahoma, many people are getting their boats ready to go out on a nearby lake for some boating. With more and more boats on the water, the odds of boating accidents increase. Statistics show that the leading causes of boating accidents and injuries include operator inattention and inexperience, improper lookout, excessive speed, and mechanical failure. If you have been hurt in a boating accident, you need to know whether you can collect financial damages to cover the costs of your injuries and repairs to your boat that were caused in the accident.
Liability For Boating Accidents
Like any kind of injury, a claim for damages from a boating accident follows the legal principles of negligence. The four elements that anyone must prove to get compensation after a boating accident include showing:
- Someone owed a duty of care. All boaters owe a duty of care to everyone else on the water to operate their boat safely and follow the principles of law.
- Someone violated their duty of care. Boat accidents in Oklahoma rarely just happen without someone being at fault. To show fault you must prove that the person was boating carelessly or dangerously.
- The accident caused damages. From personal injuries or even death to property damage to boats and equipment, a breach of the duty of reasonable care led to damages.
- Actual injuries came from the accident. Whether it is physical harm, emotional suffering, or property damage, there must be actual injuries from the crash to recover damages.
States follow different legal principles about who can recover damages from a boating accident. A few states follow a legal principle called contributory negligence, which means that anyone who contributed in any way to a boating crash is blocked from recovering financial compensation for injuries since they were part of the cause of the accident. Other states, like Oklahoma, follow a less harsh rule called modified comparative fault.
In Oklahoma, if you are more than 50% at fault for the cause of the crash, you can’t get any money for your injuries because you were the majority of the cause of the accident. If you are less than 50% at fault, though, you can recover financial damages for your injuries, but the amount of money you get will be reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the crash. If the insurance company or court finds that you were 25% at fault in causing the boat accident in Oklahoma, the compensation you can get will be reduced by 25% because of your percentage of blame in causing the crash.
Evidence you can use to help prove the facts and cause of the crash might include:
- Photos of the scene of the boat crash
- Eyewitness reports from those who were there
- Assessments of damage to the boats involved
- Video footage
Not all boat accidents in Oklahoma are caused by boaters. Some serious incidents are caused by mechanical failures of the boat or engine that leads to an emergency. In that case, it’s critical to evaluate the causes of failures and determine whether it was a manufacturing defect. If this is the case the boat or equipment insurance company may be responsible. If it was a flawed repair job, the mechanic who did the work might be to blame.
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Tulsa Okla. Boat Accident Attorneys Near You
Figuring out who is responsible for a boating accident can be a complex job. It involves putting together evidence of what happened and getting to the root of what went wrong on the water. The experienced attorneys at Kania Law Office understand what is required to get the best result in your legal matter. Call 918-743-2233 or contact us online for more information and to schedule a consultation.