West Palm Beach Cart Accident Lawyer
With around 1,250 courses, Florida has more golf courses than any other state. Florida’s extensive courses are world-renowned for their beautiful landscaping, accessibility, and appeal to residents and tourists alike. Unfortunately, traversing the vast acreage that makes up a golf course can be dangerous for those traveling by golf cart. And golfers are not the only people at risk, as many retirement community residents, college campus maintenance workers, and airport passengers use this form of conveyance on a regular basis. Because golf carts do not have safety features, such as signal lights, mirrors, windshield wipers, airbags, and sometimes even seat belts, passengers are susceptible to sustaining serious injuries if involved in accidents. If you or a loved one was injured when your golf cart overturned or crashed, it is important to contact an experienced West Palm Beach golf cart accident lawyer who can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Common Golf Cart Accident Causes
The most common types of golf cart accidents include:
- Single-cart crashes;
- Multi-cart pile-ups;
- Collisions between automobiles and golf carts;
- Striking a pedestrian; and
- Rollovers in parking lots, crosswalks, and intersections.
Although golf carts are not designed to travel at speeds higher than 20 miles per hour, they can still inflict a significant amount of damage in collisions and rollovers. Metal shards and other pieces of the vehicle pose a serious danger to accident victims. There is also a considerable risk of being trapped beneath the cart itself if it overturns.
There are a number of causes behind injury-causing golf cart accidents, but the most common include:
- Negligence, such as distracted driving;
- Driving under the influence; and
- Hazardous conditions, such as making sharp turns, sudden reversals, overcrowding, uneven or wet pavement, and construction areas.
Common Golf Cart Injuries
Although golf carts are not as large or heavy as most other vehicles and do not travel at the same high speeds, collisions and rollovers can still cause serious injuries and, in some cases, death. Some of the most typical injuries that result from negligent driving or hazardous conditions include:
- Fractures and broken bones;
- Face and neck injuries;
- Damage to shoulders and knees;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Lacerations and contusions;
- Spinal damage;
- Wrist and hand injuries;
- Head trauma; and
- Wrongful death.
These types of injuries range in severity, and the cost of treatments and rehabilitation services can quickly add up, putting severe financial, physical, and emotional stress on victims and their families.
The dangers posed by golf carts cannot be eliminated, but there are steps that drivers and passengers can take to increase safety, including:
- Braking slowly, especially when driving downhill;
- Avoiding sharp turns;
- Considering weather conditions and the local terrain
- Maintaining a reasonable speed that is below 15 miles per hour;
- Using seat belts when they are available and sitting back securely in the seats;
- Keeping feet and arms inside the golf cart at all times;
- Refraining from letting children under the age of six years ride along in the cart; and
- Discouraging children under the age of 16 from driving without supervision.
Investigating the Accident
Determining fault requires an in-depth investigation of the accident, including a professional inspection of the vehicles involved as well as an examination of the scene of the crash. Any witnesses who saw the accident will also need to be interviewed and recorded. Based on this information, the victim can begin to compile evidence supporting his or her claim. This information can be difficult to obtain, especially if there are police reports involved, so retaining an lawyer with access to investigative resources can make all the difference in successfully resolving a claim.
Unfortunately, despite precautions, drivers and passengers do sustain serious injuries in golf cart accidents. When a crash is caused by another person’s negligence or wrongful act, he or she can and should be held responsible.
To establish a claim of negligence, the injured party must show that the at-fault party owed the victim a duty of reasonable care to act as a prudent person would in the same or similar circumstances. The victim will also need to show that the defendant’s breach of that duty directly caused the victim’s injury.
In Florida, golf carts are considered dangerous instrumentalities, so golf cart owners who negligently entrust their vehicle to another driver can be held liable for damages. Other liable parties include the manufacturer of the golf cart’s parts if a faulty design or manufacturing caused or contributed to the accident.
Negligent drivers themselves may be held responsible, as can the owners and managers of facilities where golf carts are loaned or rented if they are not properly maintained. A high percentage of golf cart accidents involve children. Depending on the circumstances, their reckless actions could expose their parents to liability for the harm they caused.
If the injured party successfully establishes the necessary elements of a negligence or product liability claim, he or she may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, psychological trauma, day-to-day household expenses, scarring and disfigurement, and property damage. While financial compensation may not be able to restore a person to his or her former health or circumstances, it can go a long way toward ensuring that victims obtain the best medical care possible to help them get started on the road to recovery.
In Florida, residents who sustain injuries in golf cart-related accidents must file a claim against the responsible party within four years of the date of the accident. A failure to file on time may result in the claim being permanently barred.
Contact Lesser, Lesser, Landy, & Smith, PLLC, Lawyers at Law Today
Injuries sustained in golf cart accidents can be serious, painful, and even deadly. If you or a loved one live in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, or Stuart and were injured in a golf cart accident, it is vital to contact an experienced lawyer who can help you begin the process of recovery. Please contact Lesser, Lesser, Landy, & Smith, PLLC, Lawyers at Law, at 561-655-2028 if you are a West Palm Beach resident, 772-283-6839 if you live in Stuart and surrounding areas, and 561-367-7799 for an accident that occurred in Boca Raton, and a member of our legal team will schedule a free consultation.