Golf carts are a big part of life in Florida. There are beautiful golf courses throughout Florida, and there are a growing number of golf cart-friendly communities where people drive golf carts on the roads. Additionally, there is no shortage of folks moving down to Florida from other states who are eager to get a golf cart and start enjoying themselves. With the growing number of golf carts traveling on streets and beyond, it’s only logical to assume that golf cart accidents will continue to rise in frequency.
Golf cart accidents can be a bit more complicated than an automobile accident because the laws around golf carts are a bit more flexible in some areas than the laws for automobile drivers. For example, safety restrictions, the age of the driver, the allowable speed, and other factors can be a bit more fuzzy and may change, depending on where the golf cart is driven. This allows for more arguments regarding liability. Therefore, you can benefit from a free legal consultation with an Orlando golf cart accident lawyer at our office.
If you have been injured in a golf cart accident in Orlando, in the Villages, or anywhere in Florida, you may have questions, and we are here to help. You can reach out to us to schedule your free consultation at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website. Now, let’s talk more about golf cart accidents and reasons to consider hiring a golf cart accident lawyer.
Who is At Fault for a Golf Cart Accident?
One of the most important questions we ask in any personal injury case is this: Who is liable? If you’ve been injured in a golf cart accident, there may be one person who is liable, or there may be multiple people or business entities that are liable. Making that determination is critical because each potential defendant we identify could have the insurance coverage needed to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other damages. Below, we will talk more about commonly liable parties in golf cart accident lawsuits.
Negligent and carless drivers cause a tremendous number of golf cart accidents every year in Florida. Just as with car accidents or truck accidents, a distracted driver, a drunk driver, or a speeding driver can cause a crash at any time. When an automobile crashes into a golf cart, the result can be deadly. Therefore, this is one of the most common reasons people call a golf cart accident lawyer.
Golf Cart Drivers
Golf cart drivers must follow traffic laws when driving on streets, just like any other vehicle. In Florida, golf carts are not supposed to be capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour. The exception is if the golf cart is registered as a low speed vehicle, then it’s not supposed to exceed 25 miles per hour. Moreover, golf carts should not be operated on streets unless the streets are designated for golf carts and have a posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour or less.
Not only must golf cart driver abide by the traffic rules, they also must avoid drinking and driving. Nevertheless, drunk driving is a common factor in serious golf cart accidents. We’ve all seen the funny videos on Instagram and YouTube of the golf cart drivers pulling pranks. Unfortunately, this encourages reckless behavior that could leave someone seriously injured, paralyzed for life, or dead. Golf cart drivers who fail to follow basic traffic laws and golf cart drivers who drink and drive are a big reason people hurt in golf cart accidents and need a golf cart accident lawyer.
Golf Courses and Country Clubs in Florida
A golf course is not usually owned by an individual. Instead, the golf will likely be owned by a business entity, like a corporation, limited liability corporation, or partnership. These businesses typically carry some sort of commercial liability insurance policy that is available to people who get hurt on the premises. Therefore, a person hurt in a golf cart accident or even another type of accident, like a slip and fall or trip and fall, may have access to the golf course’s commercial insurance policy if the golf course was negligent and played a part in causing the person’s injuries.
Some common causes of golf cart accidents that a golf course or country club may be liable for include the following:
- Poorly managed or unsafe golf courses;
- Poorly managed golf cart trails or parking lots;
- Poorly maintained golf carts that have mechanical failures (think brake failure);
- Insufficient signage on trails and roads; and
- Improperly marked lines or other safety issues involving painted concrete.
When you spend your money with a business, that business has a duty to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Moreover, the business should warn you of any dangerous condition it knows about or should know about. Failure to warn of dangerous conditions and repair dangerous conditions could serve the basis of a premises liability claim. This is where our experienced Orlando golf cart accident lawyers can help.
Comparative Fault in Florida Golf Cart Accidents
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. This means that you can be assigned a percentage of fault in your golf cart accident lawsuit, based on your actions at the time of the accident. Whatever recovery you have can then be reduced by your percentage of fault. Let’s use a few hypotheticals to demonstrate this concept.
Hypothetical: Golf Cart Accident on a Golf Course
Let’s say you went to a golf course and rented a golf cart. When you were on the course, you went too fast and hit a pothole that caused you to crash the golf cart and suffer injuries. The pothole had been there a while, and nobody had bothered to repair it or even put up a sign to warn golf cart drivers about it.
You may be assigned some percentage of fault for going too fast when you hit the defect in the trail. Let’s say you’re assigned 50% fault, just to make the calculation easier. Then, let’s say you get a jury award of $100,000. That $100,000 will be reduced by your percentage of fault, which is 50%. Therefore, you will be eligible to collect $50,000.
Hypothetical: Golf Cart Accident Involving an Automobile
Now, let’s say you’re out golfing. You have a brand new, shiny golf cart, and it’s a beautiful day. The other folks with you have been drinking all day, but you have only had a few beers. Now, you need to cross over a street to get to the golf course on the other side. When you approach the road, however, you don’t pay attention to the cars on the road, and you don’t stop at the little stop sign that is clearly displayed.
At the same time, Driver Dan is traveling down the country club street that you are crossing. While driving, he’s looking down at his phone sending a text message, so he doesn’t see you pull out onto the road. Bam! Driver Dan slams into your golf cart.
You will most likely be assigned some fault here. You were driving after having a few beers, and you did not stop when you should have. However, Driver Dan was texting and driving, which is a major cause of auto accidents. As a result, you may be assigned 50% fault, and Driver Dan may be assigned 50% fault. Thus, as in the hypothetical above, if you get a $100,000 verdict, it will be reduced by your 50% of fault, so you can collect $50,000.
A Golf Cart Accident Lawyer Can Help Prove You Were Not at Fault
Now that you have seen how the law works in Florida, you know exactly what the insurance company is going to try to do and say. The insurance company will try to blame the accident on you rather than its insured. This is common in any type of accident. The more blame the insurance company can shift away from its insured, the less money it has to pay.
An Orlando golf cart accident lawyer can perform a proper investigation and help you fight the insurance company’s tactics. The key is to gather evidence as soon as possible and avoid saying anything to the insurance company that could be used against you. This is where your golf cart accident lawyer can help guide you to justice.
Common Injuries from Golf Cart Accidents in Florida
The main reason people call us is because they have been injured. They have tons of medical bills; they have missed work; and they want justice. At the heart of every personal injury claim is an injury. Golf cart accident claims are no different.
Golf cart accidents can leave people with serious and permanent injuries, and they often involve some sort of head injury or head trauma. Some of the more common types of injuries we see as a result of golf cart accidents are the following:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI);
- Broken Bones;
- Fractured Bones;
- Back Injuries;
- Joint Damage and Ligament Tears; and
- Serious Cuts and Bruises.
Golf carts are not designed for impact, and they don’t perform well in a rollover. They don’t typically have sturdy doors or advanced seat belts. Thus, when a golf cart crashes, people fly out of the cart. Again, you can see this stuff in action on the YouTube channels and Instagram pages where people recklessly drive golf carts for fun. It’s hilarious. However, it also shows that people are thrown from golf carts or crushed during an accident.
While a person may walk away from a golf cart accident with no injuries, you can imagine that a golf cart crash could easily paralyze someone. Also, the videos we think are funny typically show young folks playing around in the grass. What if the same crash occurred on concrete? Again, golf carts simply aren’t designed to withstand a crash, and as a result, people can get hurt badly in a golf cart accident.
How a Golf Cart Accident Lawyer at Spetsas Buist Can Help Me
If you have been in a golf cart accident and suffered some type of injury, you may be entitled to compensation, and we’re here to help you and give you guidance. Pursuing a personal injury claim may seem daunting to you, but it’s what we do day in and day out. With us on your side, you can let us handle the insurance company while you focus on your recovery.
It all starts with your free legal consultation. You can call us to schedule your consultation at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website, and we can schedule a consultation over email. Once we talk more about your case, we can work together and determine which steps to take next. We’re here when you need us. Reach out when you’re ready.