Oklahoma Injury Attorneys Warn of the Dangers of Intoxicated Boaters

If you ask a hundred people when summer starts, you will most likely hear a lot of different answers. For some people, summer starts when the children are out of school. For other people, the start of summer is Memorial Day weekend. Still for yet other people, summer does not officially begin until they have their boat in the water. Boating is a great summer past time that many people enjoy. However, boating can quickly turn dangerous, especially if the operator of the boat does not exercise proper judgment.

While it is not illegal to have a drink and operate a boat, or even for a boater to have a drink while boating, it is illegal for a boat operator to have a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher or if he or she is found to be “under the influence”. Research has even shown that a person can reach the level of intoxication with blood-alcohol content well below .08 while boating due to the elements at play. For example, dehydration and exposure to the sun, wind, and waves can all magnify the effects of alcohol on the body.

Just like the driver of a motor vehicle, the operator of a boat is responsible for the safety of his or her passengers. If a boat operator chooses to drink, he or she not only risks being arrested and charged with drunken boating, he or she also puts the safety of his or her passengers in danger. Sadly many Oklahoma residents are not aware that boating while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a crime. Even more frightening is that many Oklahoma residents are not aware of the dangers of drunken boating. It is estimated that close to half of all boating accidents involve alcohol. A drunk boater can cause an accident which can have serious and sometimes even fatal injuries for his or her passengers or other people on the water.

In May of 2013, two young people were killed when a ski boat operated by a friend, crashed into a house boat. One of the persons killed was a former Miss Teen Oklahoma. At the time of the accident, the operator of the boat had a blood-alcohol content of .18, or more than twice the legal limit.

In early June of this year, a 33-year old Boston attorney pled “not guilty” to charges, that he was operating his boat while intoxicated, following an incident where a 19-year old woman lost her arm. According to police reports, the young woman on board the boat jumped into the water to rescue an item that had fallen in. The woman’s arm was severed when she became trapped in the boat’s propeller.  The woman also suffered injuries to her face and abdomen.

To protect yourself, never ride on a boat with an operator who has been drinking.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in a boating accident caused by a drunk boater, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney. All too often people are not aware that it is illegal for a person to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol just as it is a motor vehicle.  Fortunately, the attorneys at The Handley Law Center are seasoned injury attorneys who have represented countless injury victims. At The Handley Law Center our attorneys know and understand just how devastating a boating injury can be for the victim and his or her family. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our seasoned injury attorneys, contact the Oklahoma Injury Attorneys at The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924. No one will work harder to obtain the compensation you deserve, than the injury attorneys at The Handley Law Center!

Oklahoma Divorce Attorneys Answer FAQs about Joint Custody

One of the biggest concerns for any parent going through a divorce is what will happen to their children. Most parents have heard about different forms of custody but are fuzzy on what each form entails. One type of custody is joint custody. The following, are some of the most commonly asked questions Oklahoma parents have about joint custody:

How is joint custody different from sole custody?

When someone says that he or she has “sole” custody, he or she is usually referring to sole “legal” custody. Sole legal custody means that one parent, either the mother or father, has the sole right to make decisions regarding the children’s upbringing. These decisions are usually regarding medical treatments a child will receive, the religious faith the child will be raised in, and whether the child will attend public or private school. If parents have joint legal custody, then the parents are required to make these decisions together.

Does joint custody mean that my spouse and I will each have the children equal amounts of time?

Joint physical custody does not mean that the parties will necessarily have exactly equal amounts of time with their children. In other words, with joint custody a child will not live one week with mom, and the next week with dad, or six months with mom, and six months with dad. Most often with joint physical custody, the children will have a home base, with either mom or dad, and the other parent will have parenting time as set out in a schedule.

Can my spouse and I have joint custody, if we are not in agreement with primary physical placement of the children?

Yes. Often parents are in agreement that joint custody is best for the children, but each parent wants the children to reside primarily with him or her and not the other parent. In this situation, if the parties cannot reach an agreement, the judge will make this decision.

How is a parenting schedule decided with joint custody?

A parenting schedule is usually worked out by the parties with the assistance of their respective attorneys. However, a judge can also make the decision. Additionally, in Canadian County, there is a recommended schedule if the parties cannot come to an agreement regarding parenting time.

Can a joint custody agreement be modified?

There are two primary ways that a joint custody agreement can be modified. The first way to modify is by an agreement of the parties. If both parents are agreement that a modification needs to be made, the parties can be request such a modification. For example, if when the agreement was first entered, the father had Wednesday night parenting time. But now, due to the father’s work schedule, Tuesday nights work better than Wednesdays and the mother has no objection to the change. Such a modification is easily made. The other way a joint custody agreement can be modified is if one party files a motion with the court seeking a modification of the agreement. If the judge finds that the modification is in the best interests of the children, then the modification will usually be granted.

If you are a parent in the middle of a divorce, it is vitally important that you understand the different types of custody. This is why is it is important to work with experienced Oklahoma Divorce Attorneys. With more than 30 years of experience handling family law related matters, the attorneys at The Handley Law Center can help you evaluate your custody options, and determine a parenting schedule that works best for you and your children. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our skilled family law attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924.

Oklahoma Injury Attorneys Discuss: Could the Horrific Accident at Fenway Happen at a Ballpark Near You?

Baseball. It is as American as apple pie and has long been considered our country’s national past time. There is nothing like a beautiful summer day spent as a family watching baseball. A trip to the ball park is not only great family entertainment, it is an experience all in its own. People come not only to watch the game but to socialize, check out the food, and spend some quality time relaxing in the sunshine. Of course, a person could watch the game in the comfort of their own home but, he or she would miss out on the sights and sounds of park, and the opportunity to catch a foul ball. The newer ballparks were created to give the fan the feeling that they not just at the game, but are part of the game. While this is what many fans of the game seem to want, at what cost is the average fan willing to pay for this up close experience?

At the time of this article, it is uncertain the price one fan will have to pay for her recent trip to the ballpark. The woman was at an early June game at Fenway to watch the Boston Red Sox take on the Oakland Athletics with her eight year old son and her former boss. During the second inning, an Oakland player’s bat broke on a ground out to second base. The 44-year old woman, who was seated near the visitor’s dugout along the third base side, was struck in the head with the player’s broken bat. Bleeding from the head, the woman was taken out of the ballpark on a stretcher, and was taken to a nearby Boston hospital.

As the woman was listed to be in serious condition following the accident—fans and critics began to discuss the safety of the game. The discussion has centered on what, if anything, can and should be done to prevent such accidents from happening in the first place. While some people have suggested the need for protective netting, others think netting and other like measures would take away from that up close and personal feel of Fenway Park. One reason why more is not being done to protect fans, is that many fans are not aware of the fact that dozens of people are struck by foul balls each season at baseball parks across the country.

Another baseball reality that many fans are not also not aware of is, the so-called “Baseball Rule”. Per the baseball rule, stadium owners and operators are not liable to fans for injuries sustained through foul balls and broken bats so long as there is an amount of netting necessary to protect a reasonable number of fans. What does this mean for a fan watching a game? It means that you are watching the game at your own risk. While the baseball rule has been around for close to 100 years, many suggest that the pace of the game and the design of the newer ballparks calls for a change. However, any change to the baseball rule or to protect fans will not be soon enough to help the woman at Fenway and her son who witnessed his mother’s horrific injury.

If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries after being involved in a “freak” accident, you owe it to yourself to speak with an experienced Oklahoma Injury Attorney. Only seasoned Oklahoma Injury Attorneys can properly review the facts of your case and determine whether you can hold someone liable for your injuries. At The Handley Law Center, our team of seasoned Injury Attorneys have helped countless injury victims in Canadian County and throughout Oklahoma, obtain compensation for their injuries. To learn how an Oklahoma Injury Attorney can help you, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a completely confidential consultation.

New Oklahoma Law Could Save the Lives of More Children

It is easy to point to dramatic changes that have happened in the last fifty or hundred years. But it often very odd when such big changes happen seemingly overnight. For example, just 35 years ago it was completely normal for children to ride in their parent’s cars without being strapped into car seats. It was even thought at the time, that the safest place for a baby or small child was sitting on the driver’s lap. Those same children are now adults and parents, who would never consider for a moment not having their child ride in a car seat, much less in the front seat of a car. The norm has changed, and of course, with good reason. Child safety seats save the lives of children.

Now, after more research and data emerging, the “rules” are again changing. On June 5, 2015, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a new bill into law that will update current child restraint laws. As part of the new law, infants and toddlers will be required to ride in rear-facing car seats until they reach the age of 2, or the weight limit for their car seat. Further, children between the ages of 2 and 8 will be required to ride in child-restraint seats or, until they reach the height of 4 feet 9 inches. Under current Oklahoma law, children under age 2 are only required to ride in car safety seats, there is no rear-facing requirement. Further, parents can switch children from child-restraints to traditional seat belts as early as age 6.

The new law, which will go into effect in November, is keeping in line with the most recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The organization updated its status to recommend that children should be placed in rear-facing car seats until age 2, as opposed to age 1. The recommendation came after data which demonstrated the benefits of the switch. Rear-facing children under age 2 were 75% less likely to be killed or sustain a serious injury after being involved in accident, compared to children of the same age who were not rear-facing. When young children are placed forward-facing too early, they can suffer serious neck and/or spinal cord damage during an accident. A child who is too small to be in safety belt without a booster seat, can actually be decapitated if the car or truck they are riding in, is in a collision

Some parents have already commented that it will be a challenge to turn children who are already forward-facing back to rear-facing, or to put a child back in a booster who is used to just using a seat belt. Hopefully, these parents will be convinced to make the change, not only because it is the law and they can be fined for failure to comply, but also because of the inherent risks.

In Oklahoma motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of children. In 2013, 22 children died and more than 600 were seriously injured when the vehicle they were riding in, was involved in a crash. It is estimated that these numbers could have been reduced by close to 50% if the children had been in proper child restraints.

If your child was seriously injured or killed in an automobile accident, please contact the Oklahoma Automobile Accident Lawyers at The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation. The compassionate attorneys at The Handley Law Center understand how deeply an automobile accident can impact a family. At The Handley Law Center our experienced injury attorneys are prepared to do whatever is necessary to obtain just compensation for you. Our attorneys will use their knowledge of the law and experience in the courtroom to fight for your rights and obtain the results you deserve.