When a Round of Golf Turns Deadly
Golf is one of the most popular leisure activities for people who want to relax in the outdoors and have the patience for a steady game spread out over 18 holes. While it does not attract the attention of football or basketball, golf has risen in recognition in recent years among both younger and older generations. But, although it may seem like a safe, low-impact sport, golfing does have one real risk: golf cart crashes.
What Makes Golf Carts Dangerous?
Golf carts are a convenient way for golfers to get around a course without having to lug around their clubs and equipment, but that does not mean they are 100% safe. Generally, golf carts are only able to travel at a maximum of 20 mph and are, therefore, classified as low-speed vehicles according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This means that any vehicle below that limit is only subject to local and state laws and does not receive the same strict oversight that larger vehicles receive from the NHTSA. However, any vehicle that travels over that limit is considered a motor vehicle and is subject to the same laws and regulations as passenger cars.
While that limit may seem low, it can still lead to serious injuries to both occupants and pedestrians. Golf carts can weigh up to 1,500 lbs, which can cause catastrophic damage to anyone caught in their path. In addition, carts do not have safety restraints, doors, or windows to prevent ejections, meaning passengers and drivers can be thrown from the vehicle in a collision. This is especially common during rollovers, which often happen when drivers lose control of the vehicle. The most at-risk group includes children, who have harder times recovering from these accidents.
The risk of death also increases drastically when golf carts come into contact with larger vehicles, such as pickup trucks and maintenance vans that service golf courses. Because of how small and versatile golf carts are, drivers may be tempted to travel onto the road, but this can turn deadly. Even using approved maintenance roads on a course can lead to a car crash between a golf cart and a larger motor vehicle.
Who is Responsible for Your Injuries?
If you or a loved one were involved in a golf cart accident, you are likely scared, anxious, and angry, wondering who you can blame for your injuries. The circumstances may vary depending on the crash, but common at-fault parties in golf cart accidents include:
- Golf cart drivers: Drivers should always focus on driving and remaining in control when handling a golf cart, but many may become intoxicated, distracted, or reckless while having a fun day at the club. If another golf cart driver struck you, you may be able to pursue a claim against them.
- Motor vehicle drivers: While golf cart drivers should only drive in approved areas, the same should be said about motor vehicle drivers. Whether a staff member at a golf course or guest in a parking lot, drivers should always keep an eye out for golf carts, otherwise they may cause a serious collision.
- Property owners: Golf carts are not as stable as larger vehicles and can overturn if they hit a rough patch of roadway or crash. Dangerous road conditions are often the responsibility of property owners and, if they failed to fix a hazard, then they could be liable for any injuries caused by it.
- Manufacturers: Designers and retailers of golf carts must thoroughly inspect and review their vehicles before letting anyone get behind the wheel—otherwise, a faulty part could cause a serious injury.
In the event of an accident caused by a negligent individual, you deserve proper compensation from the at-fault party. Oftentimes, to get the money you need to recover in a claim, you will need the legal aid of an expert personal injury attorney who can thoroughly review your accident—whether it involved a passenger vehicle or golf cart.
With over 40 years of experience, the legal team at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie has the necessary experience, resources, and knowledge to represent in a claim for damages. We offer every potential client a free initial consultation, so there is no cost to coming in for a chat about your case. To learn what your options are after a golf cart accident, contact the Orange County personal injury attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie by calling (949) 752-7474.
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