Although not seen often in the heart of large cities, golf carts have been in use for decades by families and companies for personal and business uses. Riding in a golf cart is fun, convenient, and ideal for getting across your property, golf courses, and even as a form of workplace transportation.
But just as they are convenient, they can quickly become a nightmare when they are involved in an accident. With an open frame and no doors or windows, golf carts do not handle impacts like a car, and its consequences are seen in the severity of passenger injuries and damages.
Golf cart accidents can happen when one least expects it, but you don’t have to deal with the aftermath on your own. The legal team at The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers is here to help.
Give us a call today to get started. Reach out to us at 312-999-9990 or submit our online form, and someone from our team will reach out to you.
Working With a Golf Cart Accident Attorney
Handling a claim requesting money from a defendant can be difficult for the average person, especially if they have just been in an accident resulting in injuries — or, in the worst case, losing a loved one.
Victims of golf cart accidents can handle these tasks on their own, but with the overwhelming additional responsibilities that follow, it is best to work with an attorney who is an expert at handling golf cart cases.
Requesting compensation from the defendant can quickly face complications if there is a mutual fault, lack of response, or an inability to reach an agreement. That is where your legal team steps in.
While you focus on healing and reaching a new normal with your family and loved ones, your golf cart attorney will focus on representing you and your case, collecting evidence and needed documents, negotiating on your behalf, and representing you in court, if need be.
The Fakhouri Firm Knows How to Determine Liability
Determining liability in a golf cart accident is critical to the value of the claim but can be a tricky process. Depending on the state, accidents can be determined to be at-fault or no-fault.
Meaning that in every accident claim, there is at least one (if not multiple) party at fault.
Your attorney will go through the police report, images, witness statements, and video to show that you were not at fault for the accident and that the accused at-fault party was.
What Can You Do if You Are in a Golf Cart Accident?
Golf cart accidents happen suddenly and can leave their occupants in shock. Reacting to complete these first steps can ensure that your case starts in the right direction:
- Call 911 — Always call 911 if you are in an accident to request EMT and police respondents. Golf carts do not handle crashes well and expose passengers to injuries and more severe medical complications. Doing this will get any injured parties the medical attention they need as soon as possible.
- Receive a copy of the police report — After calling 911, the police will prepare a police report. Make sure to receive a copy, as it will have the necessary information and show who is at fault for the accident.
- Seek medical attention — Go to an emergency department if you are seriously hurt. If you aren’t sure if you’re hurt, you should still receive a full medical evaluation as soon as possible to rule out any latent injuries.
- Call an experienced golf cart accident attorney — Hiring the right legal team to have your back as you navigate the process of your claim can make the difference between receiving little to nothing and receiving exactly what you need to cover all damages. Being in a golf cart accident can be exhausting and overwhelming, especially when dealing with other parties, the police, and insurance companies. Having legal representation means that you can focus on healing and working your way back to how things were before the accident.
The Types of Injuries That Can Happen in a Golf Cart Accident
A golf cart is defined as a small, motorized vehicle that is open to three sides and can seat two to eight passengers.
Initially, golf carts were made for golfers to help transport their clubs and gear to other parts of a golf course. However, in the 1950s, there was a burst in the popularity of using golf carts outside of golf courses.
With the increase in use, there subsequently also became an increase in accidents.
The injuries sustained in a golf cart accident can be severe and even deadly, especially when involved with a larger vehicle. From TBIs to broken bones and lacerations, the kinds of injuries victims endure during an accident are many.
Additionally, these kinds of injuries are not always simple and require time, possible surgery, and multiple therapy sessions to heal properly.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the number of golf cart accidents resulting in injuries is increasing in all age groups. From 1990 to 2006, there were 147,696 injuries related to non-fatal golf cart accidents alone.
The highest rate of injuries was found in the group of passengers between the ages of 10-19 and persons 80 years or older.
Victims involved in a golf cart accident can see multiple kinds of injuries that vary in severity. They can experience:
- Bone fractures or breaks.
- Muscle strains.
- Neck injuries.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).
Bone Fractures and Breaks
Fractures and breaks can be extremely painful, leading to significant bruising, swelling, and mobility-hindering pain. Depending on how bad the break is, it can take weeks, if not months, to properly heal, requiring uncomfortable casts and multiple physical therapy sessions to get you back on your feet.
Lacerations — more commonly known as cuts — are one of the most common types of injuries suffered in a golf cart accident.
Some are minor, but they can still hurt and leave scarring if deep enough. Others can lead to significant blood loss, organ damage, and other complications.
Many will require stitches to help with the healing process.
Being tossed from a golf cart or using all of your strength to brace yourself for impact can lead to serious muscle strains that can make it difficult to walk, sit, or even sleep comfortably. Strains can even limit mobility, which in turn can render someone unable to work in their industry, carry heavy groceries, or complete errands like mowing the grass.
This kind of injury often requires medical care in addition to extensive massage therapy, cold compresses, and other techniques to alleviate the pain.
With impact comes a lot of force that can move the head forward and quickly back, resulting in neck injuries. This kind of injury is felt in the head, shoulders, and upper back and requires multiple physical therapy sessions to soften the strained muscles and relieve pain.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
Traumatic Brain Injuries often go underreported and undiagnosed, which means the numbers can potentially be much higher than is believed. Motor vehicle crashes, including golf cart accidents, are one of the most common causes of TBIs.
TBIs can be complex, take a long time to diagnose, and have frightening symptoms.
Unfortunately, all brain injuries, including TBIs, cannot be diagnosed without a medical evaluation. If you believe you or a loved one is showing symptoms of a TBI, you must seek medical intervention immediately.
TBIs can have complications, especially when medical attention is not sought. It can lead to serious complications and health problems for the remainder of the victim’s life.
Children Run Additional Risk for Injury in Golf Carts
Over the last couple of years, there has been an increase in child injuries when golf carts are in use. In a nationwide study, 8% of injuries sustained by children were between the ages of 0-12.
Most injuries were sustained in the head and neck and were superficial, like cuts, but not far behind were fractures and dislocations, which require more time to heal and can render the child uncomfortable until they can fully recover.
Causes of Golf Cart Accidents
Golf cart use has increased in popularity over the years since the 1950s. From the working class to the ultimate rich, golf carts have proven time and time again to be convenient, functional, and easy to use.
Additionally, they are affordable when compared to a standard car.
Golf cart uses are mostly popular in golf courses, private property, retirement homes, and other similar kinds of spaces where they are large enough to use one of these small, motorized vehicles to get around.
Whether driving your family around a quiet neighborhood or getting around your worksite, golf carts are convenient and provide quick transportation to a small group of people.
But, just like when driving a car, when using these vehicles, especially on roadways that are not considered limited access (i.e., highways), accidents happen, and the results are catastrophic.
Golf cart accidents can happen out of nowhere and when it’s least expected. To make an awful situation worse, passengers hurt in the incident will be friends, family members, children, and even babies.
Anyone operating a golf cart must adhere to laws and take precautions while using the vehicle. Below are some of the common reasons a golf cart accident or collision can occur, especially one involving a separate motor vehicle.
Operating a golf cart should be treated like driving a car, with your surroundings in mind and driving with caution. This includes maintaining legal speed.
Golf carts are not meant to be operated at high speeds; in fact, they are perfect vehicles for areas of slow-moving traffic or lower speed limits.
Speeding makes it harder to bank turns and make stops. It will also cause serious accidents like being thrown from the golf cart or having the cart fall on top of you if there is a loss of control.
Likewise, drivers who speed through neighborhoods or areas like golf courses should be aware of smaller and slower-moving traffic.
Texting, talking on the phone, or chatting with passengers occupying the vehicle is considered a distraction, and being occupied with something other than driving can lead to collisions with other drivers, having to take sharp turns, or colliding with rocks, medians, or trees.
Operating any vehicle while under the influence is negligent, illegal, and potentially deadly. The same goes for operating golf carts.
When drivers are intoxicated and operate a golf cart, drivers tend to speed, drive recklessly, and drive on the wrong side of the road. Similarly, drivers of regular passenger vehicles are more likely to be involved in an accident with a golf cart when they are operating under the influence.
Carelessness for Right of Way Rules
Sharing the road with others means knowing and applying the right-of-way rules while driving. These rules apply to cars or bicycles and anyone else driving a motor vehicle on the roadways.
Running red lights, rolling stop signs, and improper yielding can cause serious accidents.
Overloading Golf Carts
Golf carts are not seen as the same as a car. This is because they are open, smaller, and generally more affordable.
But overloading golf carts is never a good idea. With the added weight, turning can become difficult and can offset the balance of the golf cart, flipping it over and causing its passengers to sustain extensive injuries.
Golf carts are not built to handle a lot of weight. Even the ones that can carry more than usual should only have about 800 lbs worth of passengers at any given time.
Property Owner Negligence
Some golf cart accidents are the fault of the owner of the property where the accident took place. This can include neighborhoods with carting paths, golf course facilities with unsafe routes, and other property defects that make an accident more likely to result — or to, at least, result in more severe injuries.
Lack of maintenance, faulty parts, or just general carelessness can be considered negligence. Golf cart owners are asked to always look at their vehicles and see if they have balding tires, bad breaks, or busted headlights.
These features were placed for the safety of the riders while the golf cart shares the road with others.
Maintaining Insurance Even When You Don’t Have To
Golf cart insurance can be helpful, especially if you drive a golf cart beyond your property lines.
Insurance can help pay for injuries to you or any other riders and any damages to your golf cart. It also provides coverage when the other party does not carry insurance (uninsured motorist insurance). Your policy will typically include:
- Damage liability insurance
- Bodily injury liability Insurance
- Collision insurance
- Comprehensive insurance
If you are exclusively driving your golf cart on your property, it should be covered under the liability insurance portion of your home insurance policy.
Call Our Golf Cart Accident Law Firm If You Were Injured
Whether you or your loved ones sustained any injuries during a golf cart accident, make sure to reach out to your attorney as soon as possible. Our team at The Fakhouri Firm knows exactly what to gather and include for your claim.
Being involved in a golf cart accident can be frightening and cause many injuries and damage. Knowing where to start to receive compensation can be challenging to manage on your own.
Fortunately, you do not have to handle the aftermath without anyone by your side. With support from The Fakhouri Firm, you can expect legal advice, representation, and support along the way.
Our goal is to make sure that you receive the compensation your case is worth.
Reach out to The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers today and schedule your initial consultation with our team. We will show you how we can help and complete a case review.