Florida is a golf cart state. You don’t have to drive around long before you see a golf cart on a street or on a cart path. Florida is full of golf courses, and many communities allow folks to operate golf carts on the streets. Thus, although golf carts may have gotten their start on golf carts and golf course paths, they are quickly becoming a common mode of short-range transportation, particularly in residential communities and retirement communities like the Villages.
This is probably a good trend overall. Golf carts save gas, they’re extremely convenient, and they’re fun. They’re also quiet, affordable, and comfortable. They’re a great way to get around. However, there are some bad things about traveling by golf cart. Namely, golf carts typically have open sides, and they typically lack sufficient safety features. Therefore, golf cart drivers that travel around on roadways with other motorists are in danger of getting seriously hurt. Hence, we have seen a steady increase in severe injuries arising from golf cart accidents in Florida, especially in areas like the Villages where golf cart travel is prevalent.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a golf cart accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation with an Orlando golf cart accident lawyer at our firm. You can schedule your free consultation at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website. Now, let’s talk more about what to do after a golf cart accident in Florida.
5 Steps to Take After a Golf Cart Accident
We wrote this article to give you a bit of guidance on what you should do immediately following a golf cart accident. To simply this, just remember that safety comes first. Get to safety as quikly as possible, assess your injuries before jumping around, and get medical help for your injuries as soon as possible. Also, do what you can to take pictures and video of everything at the scene of the golf cart accident, and try to get everyone’s contact information in case you need it later. Now, we will talk about the steps to take after a golf cart accident in more detail.
Step 1: Assess Your Injuries
After you have been injured, your instinct is often to hop up and dust yourself off as soon as possible. However, if you have sustained serious injuries, especially injuries to your back, neck, spine, or brain, jumping up can be a disastrous move. Sudden movements after an accident often make our clients’ injuries worse. Thus, after a golf cart accident, take your time and assess your injuries before making any sudden movements.
Now, sometimes our car accident and pedestrian accident victims can’t lay there and assess their injuries after an accident because they are in danger of being hit by a car. If your golf cart accident took place on the road, you may need to get out of harm’s way. However, if it’s safe to take your time, evaluate your injuries before you make any sudden movements.
Step 2: Contact the Authorities
You should always report your accident. If you or someone else has suffered serious injuries, dial 911 to get the medical personnel to the scene of the golf cart accident as soon as possible. Also, if your golf cart accident occurred at a golf course, country club, or some other facility, ask to file an incident report. If your golf cart accident occurred on the street or with an automobile, do what you can to make sure a police report is created. That way, you have documentation of your golf cart accident.
Step 3: Gather Evidence at the Scene of the Golf Cart Accident
After any accident, it is a great idea to take pictures and video of everything because evidence tends to disappear after an accident. The scene of the accident will look completely different within 12 to 24 hours after the accident, likely sooner. Thus, you have a very limited window of time to documents the scene of your golf cart accident.
When documenting the scene, be sure to get pictures and video of the following:
- The overall scene of the accident;
- Damage to any cart or vehicle;
- The at fault driver or that driver’s ID and insurance information;
- The areas surrounding the scene of the golf cart accident; and
- The identifying information of any witnesses to the accident.
Step 4: Get Medical Help for Your Injuries
After an accident, you may not feel the pain of your injuries right away because of all the adrenaline coursing through your veins. Accidents tend to trigger our fight or flight response, and so pain may not set in for a day or so. Thus, if you suffered a serious impact or if you think you may have suffered injuries, you should seek medical help at the earliest opportunity. Don’t wait for things to get worse. Usually, the earlier you get medical help, the better your recovery will be.
Step 5: Secure an Aggressive Golf Cart Accident Lawyer
As we mentioned, evidence tends to disappear right after a golf cart accident. For this reason, it’s critical for an attorney to perform an investigation at the earliest possible opportunity. Our golf cart accident lawyers get on a case and start investigating early. That way, evidence is not lost or destroyed.
In addition to gathering and preserving evidence, your attorney can help you to navigate the insurance companies and their tactics. After an accident, insurance companies will reach out to injured people to get recorded statements, or they will try to get you to sign their documents. Additionally, insurance companies make tiny offers of settlement before injured people get an attorney. This tactic works; lots of people sign a release in return for a few thousand dollars, when their case is worth tens of thousands of dollars or more. People don’t know any better, and insurance companies know that. Beware when dealing with the insurance company before you have an attorney.
The insurance company’s goal is to minimize your claim. It’s plain and simple. That’s their business model. Therefore, you can protect the value of your case if you have a golf cart accident lawyer with you throughout the process.
How Liability is Determined in a Florida Golf Cart Accident
Liability in a Florida golf cart accident could depend upon several key factors. Thus, no two golf cart accidents are exactly the same. Moreover, multiple people can be liable for your injuries in a golf cart accident. For example, the liable parties may include another golf cart driver, an automobile driver, the owner of the golf course, a country club, or even the golf cart manufacturer. Let’s talk more about who is liable for a golf cart accident.
What if The Driver of a Car or Truck is Liable for My Golf Cart Accident?
In the most intense types of golf cart accidents, an automobile, like a car or a pickup truck, crashes into a golf cart. These types of accident will often involve serious injuries, even death. If the at fault driver in a golf cart accident was driving a car or a truck, there is a good chance the driver will have insurance coverage that could help to cover medical bills and other damages. Thus, in these types of accidents, the best course of action is often to file a personal injury claim with the at fault driver’s auto insurance company.
What if The Driver of a Golf Cart is Liable for My Golf Cart Accident?
If you’re injured in a golf cart accident and the at fault driver was driving a golf cart at the time of the accident, it may be more difficult to find insurance coverage than if the driver was driving an automobile. Unfortunately, most automobile insurance polices do not cover golf cart accidents. Thus, if you’re injured by the driver of a golf cart, you will need to determine whether the at fault driver had golf cart liability insurance, or some other type of insurance that would cover the golf cart accident. For example, the at fault driver’s homeowners insurance policy may cover golf carts. Additionally, some renters insurance policies may kick in for certain types of injuries or torts. Thus, insurance coverage may exist in places people don’t usually think to look.
What if a Golf Course is Liable for My Golf Cart Accident?
We have all seen the crazy videos on YouTube and Instagram that show how wild golf cart drivers can be. Obviously, many golf cart accidents are the result of user error. However, sometimes responsible and careful golf cart drivers are injured because of dangerous conditions on the golf course that are beyond their control. In these situations, the golf course entity, whether it’s an LLC, Corporation, or Partnership, may be liable for a golf cart accident. More importantly, that entity’s insurance policy may cover golf cart accidents resulting from dangerous conditions on the premises.
Owners of private property in Florida that is open for business have a responsibility to keep the premises free from unreasonably dangerous conditions and hazardous conditions. This includes owners of golf courses open to the public. Here are some common examples of dangerous conditions on a golf course that cause golf cart accidents:
- Dangerous conditions on the golf course terrain (think pot hole);
- Dangerous conditions on the golf course path (think pavement issues);
- Poorly maintained golf carts (think brake failure); and
- Any other hazardous condition that the golf course operators knew about or should have known about.
What if My Golf Cart Accident Occurred on the Street?
As we talked about briefly above, the result of a car-on-golf-cart accident can be absolutely catastrophic. Golf carts are simply not designed to withstand the force of a crash with a car, van, or pickup truck. Accordingly, a crash with a vehicle that would have been only a “minor” accident or a fender bender if both vehicles had been an automobile can be fatal when one of the vehicles involved is a golf cart.
Any vehicle driving on the roadways in Florida must follow Florida traffic laws and the rules of the road. Additionally, all drivers on Florida roadways should pay careful attention and drive safely. Thus, if you were obeying the rules of the road and driving carefully when a car or truck slammed into your golf cart, that automobile driver is likely going to be liable for any damages you and your passengers sustained. That at fault driver will also probably be liable for repairing or replacing your golf cart.
What if My Golf Cart Accident is the Result of a Faulty Golf Cart?
As we discussed earlier, poor maintenance of a golf cart may place liability on the owner of the premises where the golf cart accident occurred. However, if the golf cart had a design defect, design flaw, or some other manufacturing defect, liability may be placed on the manufacturer of the golf cart.
If You Were Injured in a Golf Cart Accident in Florida, Please Don’t Hesitate to Contact Us for a FREE Legal Consultation
We are a boutique personal injury and wrongful death law firm in Orlando, Florida, and our trial lawyers serve clients across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Our firm is dedicated to providing exclusive and personal legal services to a very limited number of clients, and we prepare our cases for trial from day one.
If you have been injured in golf cart accident, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your free legal consultation. You can also contact us on our website and schedule your free legal consultation over email. We’re here when you need us.