What to Do if You Get Injured in a Boat Accident at Lake Thunderbird State Park in Norman, Oklahoma

Boating on Lake Thunderbird is a fun way to spend time with your loved ones while enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature.  However, serious injuries can occur when boat operators are careless, reckless, or intoxicated.  If you or one of your family members was hurt in a boating accident on Lake Thunderbird near Norman, our Norman boating injury lawyers may be able to recover compensation for you.  Here, we’ll cover some common boating injuries and explain the steps you need to take after being involved in an accident on Lake Thunderbird.

What Should You Do After You Are Injured at Lake Thunderbird State Park?

Lake Thunderbird State Park is located about 12 miles east of Norman, Oklahoma.  The park is a popular summer destination for Oklahomans and tourists alike, pulling in close to 650,000 visitors in 2011.  The lake for which the park is named – Lake Thunderbird, a reservoir that supplies water to the residents of Midwest City, Norman, and Del City – is a summer hotspot for boating, jet skiing, and other recreational activities.

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If you or one of your family members is injured in a boating accident, the first and most important step is getting medical care.  Not only is seeking prompt treatment vital from a health standpoint – it’s also important to your personal injury case.  If you wait to seek medical treatment, the defendant’s attorneys will seize upon the delay to argue that you were not as severely injured as you said you were, as we discussed in our article on when to see a doctor after you have been injured accidentally.

Under federal law, you are also required to submit an accident report form to the Lake Patrol Section of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.  A report must be submitted for any accident resulting in:

  • Injuries that are too severe to be treated with a first aid kit.
  • Property damage that appears to exceed $2,000.
  • The death or disappearance of another person.

Park employees and Lake Patrol officials can help you manage the forms that need to be filled out after a boating accident, but it’s also a good idea to contact an experienced boating injury attorney, even if you aren’t yet certain how serious your injuries are.  If your accident and resulting injuries were caused by the reckless or negligent actions of another park-goer – for instance, a boater who wasn’t paying attention to the water, or who was operating their vessel while they were intoxicated by drugs or alcohol – that party may be liable for your expenses.

On a related note, it is mandatory for the boat’s operator to remain at the scene of the accident in order to be tested for drugs and alcohol if both of the following statements apply:

  • The boat operator has been placed under arrest for boating under the influence.
  • The boat operator may be at fault for the victim’s death or injuries.

Drivers who are involved in car accidents in Oklahoma have similar responsibilities after a crash or collision, a topic we covered in our article on what to do after a car crash in Oklahoma City.

Examples of Common Water-Related Injuries Caused by Boat Crashes

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), boating accidents claim about 330 lives every year.  Like auto accidents, boat accidents tend to involve high speeds and powerful forces, often resulting in catastrophic injuries when collisions occur on the water.  However, even a low-speed boating accident is capable of inflicting disabling, life-altering injuries.  The hazard is especially high for children, who are more susceptible than other groups to unintentional drowning.  The CDC reports that about 20% of all drowning victims in the U.S. are children under 15.

While drowning is perhaps the most obvious risk associated with accidents in bodies of water, serious injuries can occur even if no one goes overboard.  If two vessels collide, the force of the impact could throw the vessel’s passengers off-balance or cause them to strike against other objects, leading to injuries such as:

Contact Our Norman, Oklahoma Boating Accident Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation

If you, your spouse, or one of your children was injured in a boating accident during a family trip to Lake Thunderbird State Park, you may be entitled to compensation for various costs and losses.  For example, you may be able to get compensated for your lost earnings, your pain and suffering, and your medical bills, such as surgery, physical therapy, medication, ambulance transportation, and inpatient hospitalization.

The Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook may be able to help.  We have over 75 years of combined experience fighting for compensation on behalf of injury victims in Norman, and throughout the Oklahoma City area.  Let us bring our extensive experience and legal knowledge to your case.  Call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free legal consultation today.  We will keep your information confidential.