Golf Cart Accident Lawyer
Established Golf Cart Accident Lawyer in Clearwater with Proven Results Throughout Florida.
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Experienced Florida Golf Cart Accident Lawyer
Golf course construction is exploding in Florida with the development of more and more retirement communities and resort locations. There are over 120,000 people currently living in The Villages retirement community for whom golf is their major activity. But there are many other retirement communities being developed like Del Webb, Sun City Center, and others around Florida.
We receive a surprising number of calls from people who have been hurt in Florida by someone operating a golf cart. These crashes can happen to a pedestrian, someone on a bicycle, or a golfer while on a golf course. Finding insurance to compensate the injured person will be affected by where the crash took place, who owned the cart, and who was operating it at the time of the collision.
Golf carts, like automobiles, have been declared by Florida courts to be dangerous instrumentalities. This simply means our courts understand they are capable of causing great bodily harm. It also means the owner of a golf cart is strictly liable for its use. The owner is legally responsible whether they were driving or someone else was driving it with the owner’s permission.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a golf cart accident, we encourage you to pick up the phone and call our office to have your questions answered. You might be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as any medical expenses you incurred for your injuries, any missed lost income as a result of your injuries, and any other economic or financial losses you might have suffered as a result of the accident.
We will help give you a clear understanding of what you should do next and what you can expect over the coming months. One of the most frustrating aspects of having an injury claim is the feeling of uncertainty about what you should or should not say to a claims representative who may call you on the phone. Let us help.
Most Common Ways Golf Cart Accidents Occur in Florida
Some of the most common golf cart-related injuries caused by a negligent driver include:
- Running into a golfer or pedestrian on or off the golf course
- Hitting another golf cart
- Crashing into someone on a bicycle
- Driving into a fixed object, such as a pole or tree
- Injuring a passenger by turning too quickly and ejecting them from the golf cart
- Drivers of another type of vehicle crashing into a golf cart in a designated area
- Driving over hazardous terrain
- Driving too fast down a hill and losing control of the golf cart
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The legal team at Jim Dodson Law has decades of experience handling golf car accident cases. Just tell us what happened. Call to schedule a free consultation at 888-207-0905 or click below to complete our short form and we’ll call you back
Most Common Injuries Sustained By Someone Driving a Golf Cart
Most golf carts lack safety features like mirrors, doors, and seat belts. The lack of any restraints put drivers and passengers in a very vulnerable situation if the golf cart is involved in a crash. Many golf cart collisions on the road can resemble electric bicycle or motorcycle accidents in that occupants are often thrown or ejected from the vehicle. This can lead to traumatic brain injuries, back injuries, fractured bones, collarbone injuries, shoulder dislocations, lacerations, and even death.
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What Happens if Someone is Hit By a Golf Cart on the Golf Course?
Golf carts have become such a common part of playing the game that very few people take the time to carry their bags and walk an entire round. Operating a golf cart is open to anyone who pays for a round of golf and there is little to no supervision of how and where people operate these carts. Many times people will allow young children to operate them. And we all understand that one of the major activities on a golf course for many people is drinking alcohol, not the best combination for safety.
Golf carts have a unique place in Florida law because of a concept known as the “dangerous instrumentality doctrine.” Florida courts have determined that something which has the potential to cause great bodily harm may be recognized as a dangerous instrumentality. This includes motor vehicles and golf carts. The courts recognize that when a golf cart runs into someone, the injured person often suffers significant and permanent injuries. Our firm has handled many of these cases.
The importance of the dangerous instrumentality doctrine is that the owner of a dangerous instrumentality is always liable for its use, even if they personally did not commit an act of negligence. It is often referred to as strict liability. In practice, when a golf course allows a customer to drive off on a golf cart, the golf course is responsible if the operator hurts someone even if the driver was negligent or at fault in causing the injury. This has a big impact on cases involving injuries caused on golf courses.
If there is evidence the driver was negligent or did something careless which resulted in the cart striking and injuring someone else, the driver may be held financially responsible for the harm they caused. If the driver owns their own home, even if they live out of state, their negligence may be covered by their homeowners insurance. This means the injured golfer may bring a claim against the driver’s homeowners insurance to pay for the full measure of their injury, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, wage loss, and other losses.
It also means the golf course may be held responsible as the owner of the golf cart as well. If the driver is not a homeowner, the golf course may be the only party held financially responsible. Golf courses are typically insured under commercial policies with high levels of insurance coverage.
What Happens if a Pedestrian or Cyclist is Hit By a Golf Cart?
A different set of rules come into play when a cyclist or a pedestrian is hit by a golf cart being operated on a street or public road. Probably the most well-known designated golf cart community in Florida is The Villages. But, there are many others in which people use golf carts almost exclusively for their transportation. In addition, many Florida communities have designated specific streets or neighborhoods (Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, Bardmoor, etc.) where these vehicles may be lawfully operated. Generally, these carts have been modified so that they are “street legal” with required headlights and other safety features. Street-legal golf carts come under the category of a “low-speed vehicle” and may be covered under one or more forms of insurance.
What is the Difference Between a Golf Cart and a Low-Speed Vehicle?
There has been a lot of misunderstanding about the use of golf carts versus LSVs and what the repercussions are if you are involved in an accident. Below is a summary of the key important facts you need to know.
- Under Florida law, a golf cart is designed for recreational use on a golf course. Usually, they are limited to speeds of less than 20mph. In contrast, a LSV sometimes referred to as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) or a street-legal golf cart, is defined using certain state and federal regulations. LSVs are equipped with headlights, turn signals, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, seatbelts, and vehicle identification numbers. They may be operated on streets with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less and they are capable of exceeding speeds of 20 mph.
- Although they may look different from your standard automobile, in many ways the law treats them the same. You must register your LSV, insure it, and have a valid driver’s license to drive it. While they may seem fun and harmless, golf carts and LSVs can do serious damage to another person or their property. It is important to keep in mind how the law treats LSVs and make sure to not let young children operate them.
- Golf carts are not required to be insured unless they are street-legal. That being said, if you will be using your golf cart regularly, it is a good idea to carry insurance on it to protect yourself and others in the event of an accident. Otherwise, you might be personally responsible for any damages that might happen in the case of an accident. Under Florida law, you are required to title, register, and insure your LSV with PIP/PDL. It is also wise to carry full coverage if you intend to drive it on the road.
What Happens if a Car Hits Someone Driving a Golf Cart in a Designated Area?
Golf cart use is becoming more common in subdivisions and retirement communities as well as short trip tours in apartment complexes and public areas like airports and malls. The injuries you can potentially suffer in a golf cart accident can be just as serious as those in a car accident. A personal injury lawyer can help you file a claim for damages when another person’s negligence caused your injuries.
The guidelines for holding another party liable are the same between a car accident and a golf cart accident. The other party must have acted in a negligent manner and through that negligent manner, caused you harm. Then, your personal injury lawyer will have to prove this through the use of evidence.
Evidence Needed to Prove a Golf Accident Case
- proof that you were operating the golf cart in a designated area under safe circumstances;
- photographs of the accident scene and damage to you and the golf cart;
- police report and witness statements; and
- maintenance records for the golf cart.
In a claim for a golf cart accident, you’ll most likely be filing against another person or a manufacturer. If the accident was caused by another driver or pedestrian’s negligence, it will be a claim against a person. If the accident was caused by a mechanical defect it may be against a golf cart manufacturer or maintenance company.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Golf Cart Accident?
If you or someone you know has been hurt by a golf cart in Florida it’s important to talk to a lawyer who understands how to find the right insurance coverage in order to be fully compensated. We routinely represent injured clients throughout Florida and it is never necessary to drive to our offices. We’ll come to you. There is never a charge to discuss the circumstances of your case. Just pick up the phone and call us at 888-207-0905.