Golf carts are no longer just for the golf course, rather more people are buying these leisure vehicles to use for casual outings in their neighborhoods. But, when such a golf cart outing goes awry, you need a Tampa golf cart injury lawyer to discuss your legal options moving forward. That’s why here, we use our legal knowledge to tell you all you need to know about golf cart accidents.
If you were recently injured in a golf cart accident and need to speak to a lawyer right away, then call us at (813) 901-1110 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys today.
Are Golf Carts Street Legal in Florida?
Are golf carts street legal in Florida? The answer is: it depends. You can drive your golf cart on streets with a posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour or less.
Thus, you could enjoy a golf cart outing around places like your neighborhood or a country club. Although you couldn’t legally drive your golf cart on a street with a speed limit higher than 30 miles per hour, such as on a highway or main road.
When Can You Go Golf Carting?
You may only use a golf cart between sunrise and sunset by law. In other words, if the sun is out, then you’re free to use your golf cart. Yet, Florida law makes an exception to this limitation if the vehicle has added safety equipment like headlights, brake lights, and a windshield.
Who Can Operate a Golf Cart?
There’s no need for you to have a driver’s license to use a golf cart. But you do need to be over the age of 14 if you are going to drive a golf cart on public streets. This poses an issue, as parents often let children as young as 14 operate golf carts, with little to no adult supervision.
What About Golf Carts Makes Them Dangerous?
Many people underestimate the danger that golf carts pose. A golf cart can be just as dangerous as a car, as it can reach speeds even a car can reach.
Also, golf carts lack standard safety equipment that you would find in cars, such as airbags, windshield wipers, and mirrors. Many golf carts don’t even come with seat belts. Such a lack of safety equipment standards for golf carts directly leads to injury.
Dangerous Instrumentality/Meister versus Fisher Supreme Court Case
Dangerous instrumentality is a legal doctrine that imposes strict liability on the owner of a motor vehicle who voluntarily entrusts that motor vehicle to an individual. If that individual’s negligent operation causes damage to another, then the operation of a vehicle falls within the strict liability doctrine because a vehicle is dangerous to others when used for its designed purpose.
In 1984, the Supreme Court of Florida determined in the Meister versus Fisher case that a golf cart, whether driven on a public roadway or a private golf course, meets all the qualifications of a dangerous instrumentality. As such, golf cart owners may be held liable for damages if the person to whom they entrust their golf cart has an accident in which someone is injured or killed.
Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage, also known as no-fault insurance, helps cover expenses like medical bills or lost wages after a vehicle accident, no matter who is at fault. Also, property damage liability (PDL) insurance coverage pays for damage to another person’s property caused by you or someone else driving your insured vehicle.
Before you register an automobile in Florida, you must first show proof that you have both PIP and PDL insurance coverage. But there’s no requirement to buy PIP and PDL insurance coverage for a golf cart.
So, suppose you don’t get insurance and get into a golf cart accident. In that case, you’d have no coverage to cover the cost of your injuries and damages. Thus, it’s important you make sure that you are adequately covered in case of an accident.
If you’d like to learn more about Florida automobile insurance requirements, call (813) 901-1110 to speak to one of our lawyers and they’ll be happy to answer your questions.
How Injuries May Happen
According to data shown at the virtual AAP National Conference and Exhibition, more than 6,500 adolescents experience a golf-cart-related injury every year. Many allow children as young as 14 to drive golf carts, many times with even younger children in passenger seats, with little to no adult supervision, running the risk of injury.
Reference: Marchioli M, et al. Nationwide Injury Trends Due to Motorized Golf Carts Among the Pediatric Population: An Observational Study of the NEISS Database from 2010-2019.
Common golf cart-related injuries include:
- Traumatic brains Injuries (TBIs)
- Fractures and broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Face and neck injuries
- Wrist and hand injuries
- Wrongful death
When golf cart accidents happen, they often result in injuries due to passenger ejection, as golf carts are typically not equipped with seatbelts. Passengers are most often ejected during sharp turns. Children are especially vulnerable to seat ejection from the cart because of their small stature. Moreover, because golf carts often don’t come with seatbelts, there isn’t that extra layer of protection to keep children from falling out of the vehicle.
Types of Golf Cart Accidents
Like other types of motor vehicle accidents, there can be many reasons that an accident occurs. In many instances, a crash is due to the negligence or wrongful acts of another person.
For example, a driver could be operating their golf cart while on their phone and accidentally rear-end your parked golf cart. This is an example of someone’s negligent actions directly leading to another person’s injuries and damage to their personal property.
Common types of golf cart accidents include:
- Single cart crashes
- Multi-cart pileups
- Pedestrian collision
- Bicyclist collision
- Collisions between other types of motor vehicles and golf carts
Negligence may be difficult to prove, which is why our lawyers at Hancock Injury Attorneys can help you determine whether and to what extent another person could be at fault.
So, if you’re pursuing a personal injury claim for a golf cart accident, call our offices at (813) 901-1110 to schedule a phone call with one of our lawyers today.
In legal terms, reasonable care refers to the level of care that a reasonable person would exercise in a specific circumstance. All individuals are expected to exercise reasonable care in all circumstances. The law defines negligence as a failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another person.
To get compensation, you must prove that the at-fault party’s negligent actions directly led to your accident-related damages and injuries. The defendant could argue that they acted with reasonable care and thus didn’t cause your injuries and can’t be held liable. For this reason, it’s imperative that you get an experienced lawyer to aid in establishing the defendant’s negligence and help get the highest compensation possible.
Florida Statute of Limitations for a Golf Cart Injury Lawsuit
Generally, the statute of limitations in Florida for an injury resulting from a golf cart is 4 years from the date of the accident. This means that your claim against the appropriate party must be filed in the correct court within four years of the accident. Otherwise, you may lose your chance to seek compensation for your damages and injuries.
An exception may be made if the injury isn’t discovered until after the date of the accident. For example, symptoms of injuries such as whiplash or a concussion may not arise until days or weeks after the accident. If such an incident occurs, an individual would have four years from the date their injury was discovered to file a claim.
Should You Contact a Tampa Golf Cart Injury Lawyer?
Although it may be a difficult area of the law, this does not mean that you shouldn’t seek compensation for your golf cart-related injury. Also, make sure that you seek legal help within four years of the accident, or else your case may be forever barred.
When searching for a personal injury lawyer, keep these five C’s in mind: communication, cost, capability, case, and care. The bottom line is you need an experienced lawyer whose priority is to look out for your best interests. If your lawyer doesn’t have your well-being at the top of their mind, then start looking for another better lawyer.
Injured by Reckless Golf Cart Driving?
If you were injured in a golf cart accident caused by someone else’s negligence, then you’re entitled to take legal action. And by filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party, you can seek compensation for your injuries.
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we have the experience, skill, and knowledge to win your case. Call Tampa golf cart injury lawyer Mike Hancock for your free and confidential case consultation at (813) 901-1110, toll-free. We answer our phones 24/7/365. You may also contact us via email or by filling out a short form on our website.