Golf carts bring all the fun of driving a car without any of the rules of the road. While this combination usually makes for a carefree day on the links or a quick cruise through a retirement community, golf cart accidents can actually lead to serious injury. Golf carts were meant for just that: golf. However, their expanded use has led to an increase in injuries across the United States.What Makes Golf Carts Unsafe?
A golf cart is essentially a tiny car with all of the safety features removed. Think about it: golf carts lack doors, sides, bumpers, airbags, seatbelts, and usually have a plastic body. Considering that they are commonly driven at high speeds across rough terrain, it is surprising that there is absolutely no license requirement for driving one. Plus, that does not even take into account the normal maintenance required to ensure that all components, like brakes or even the seats, are functioning. It does not help that alcohol and golf often go hand in hand, meaning many drivers might be under the influence of alcohol. At the end of the day, there is very little in the way of regulation when it comes to golf carts, which makes it easy for the negligence of others to cause injury.Common Golf Cart Injuries
The most common type of golf cart injury is soft tissue damage (bruising). While these are not usually too severe, included in the nearly 15,000 golf cart injuries that occur every year are severe or even fatal ones. Since there is no side protection, bone breaks and fractures can easily occur. Also, this lack of protection can lead to severe brain damage in the event that a person is thrown from a golf cart at high speed. Concussions and even fatalities are a possibility when it comes to golf cart accidents. The cause of these more serious injury cases? Rollovers are the single biggest risk of serious injury. Golf courses are littered with hills.
The majority of successful golf cart injury cases involve golf cart passengers. Which means suing the driver who is typically a good enough friend to be out on the golf course with playing a round of golf, right? This often means suing that friend. Does this mean your friend is going to have to pay you out of his pocket? Generally, the kind of cases like this that lawyers take involve defendants with insurance; so you are really suing your friend in name only. Typically, homeowners and/or auto coverage will apply in these claims.Value of a Golf Cart Accident Case
It is impossible to predict the exact value of your case. Juries ultimately decide your case, and jurors are people with prejudices, biases, and varying intelligence levels. Still, the following cases should give you a general idea of the value of a golf cart accident case.
- 2003, Maryland: $27,758 Verdict: While participating in a golf tournament, the plaintiff rode as a passenger in a golf cart. When the cart in front on him stops short, the driver of his cart slams on the brakes. Their cart had a brake imbalance, which causes their cart to spin, ejecting the plaintiff and causing him to tear his rotator cuff. The plaintiff sues the golf course, alleging improper maintenance of the cart. The course claims that the accident was actually the driver's error. The jury awards the plaintiff $27,758.
- 2006, Pennsylvania: $60,000 Verdict: The plaintiff is a passenger in a golf cart, who is playing with a foursome. When both carts begin driving after a shot, the second cart strikes the first cart, pinning the plaintiff’s leg between the carts. She sues the driver of her cart, alleging that the driver made an abrupt right turn, causing her leg to fall out. She suffers nerve damage but her condition is not permanent and will heal with time. The jury found the defendant 100% liable and awarded the plaintiff $60,000.
- $10,000,000 Malpractice Verdict
- $8,000,000 Car Crash Verdict
- $5,500,000 Surgical Mistake Verdict
- $2,500,000 Medical Mistake Verdict
- $2,500,000 Malpractice Settlement
- $2,100,000 Product Defect Settlement
- $1,300,000 Truck Crash Settlement
- $1,200,000 Truck Crash Settlement
- $1,100,000 Truck Crash Settlement
- $1,100,000 Medical Mistake Verdict
- $1,000,050 Truck Crash Verdict
- $1,000,000 Car Crash Settlement
- $1,000,000 Truck Crash Settlement
- 2011, Virginia: $145,000 Verdict: A baggage handler at an airport drives his golf-cart next to an airplane when he is struck by a baggage tug. He suffers a torn meniscus and other injuries, which he alleges caused permanent disability. He sues the other truck driver, claiming that he had the right of way on the tarmac. However, the defendant alleges that the plaintiff was responsible for the accident. The jury awarded the plaintiff. $145,000.
- 2014, New Jersey: $275,000 Verdict: While playing golf, the plaintiff stands at a putting green when she is suddenly struck by a golf cart. She injures her leg, shoulder, and ankle, prompting her to sue the driver. As a result of the injuries, she undergoes surgery and alleges that she will no longer be able to partake in the physical activities she previously enjoyed. The defendant alleges that the plaintiff was actually at fault for walking in front of her cart. The jury awards the plaintiff $275,000.
Talk to a Lawyer at 800-553-8082 or Get an On-Line Consultation.
Golf cart accident cases are not standard fare tort claims. You have to think creatively to find insurance and other deep pockets. If you want a lawyer to fight for you to get you the compensation you deserve, call Miller & Zois at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.