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Golf Cart Lawyer in Jacksonville
Golfing is a mainstay for residents and tourists alike in Jacksonville. Florida is a mecca for this leisurely sport owing to the many beautiful golf courses and golf communities in the area and the near year-round idyllic weather conditions. Golf carts are a convenient way to get around on the greens, and for many, these vehicles are also used because the costs to purchase and maintain are significantly less than regular motor vehicles.
Tourists are also encouraged to use golf carts to get around so they can experience the Florida lifestyle firsthand and enjoy the sunshine. Convenience and novelty aside, golf cart usage has real risks, and you may have recently been exposed to the very real and dangerous results of a golf cart accident. In that case, you may be in search of the best golf cart lawyer in Jacksonville.
Morgan and Morgan Law Firm employs some of the best golf cart accident lawyers in the state right here in Jacksonville. A Morgan and Morgan attorney can help determine your best options for pursuing financial compensation and implement strategies to ensure you get paid for your injuries and property damage.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to get started.
Morgan & Morgan
Why Are Golf Carts Becoming More Dangerous?
Anymore, it's a very common sight to see people traveling in golf carts, and not just on golf courses either. In Jacksonville, there are golf communities where residents use their golf carts as a standard form of transportation to travel to other residents' homes, community facilities, and even the neighborhood grocery store. However, the rise in popularity means there are more opportunities to get hurt, either as a driver, passenger, or bystander.
People erroneously assume that since golf carts are smaller and generally used for leisure, that means they can't do much harm. Some people even foolishly mistake them for bumper cars. Still, even though they are smaller than regular vehicles, devastating injuries and death can occur. Drivers may make an error in judgment on their part or get struck by another moving vehicle because of negligence.
The escalation of golf cart injuries has even led to law enforcement creating special golf cart safety patrols to increase golf cart danger awareness and hold those who break the law accountable by issuing tickets and warnings. In the vast majority of golf cart accidents, it's the fault of a driver, whether it's the operator of another golf cart or the driver of a full-size vehicle. However, in some cases, there may be a faulty part on the golf cart, or the cart wasn't adequately maintained, which led to an injury.
Another issue in Jacksonville is the influx of tourists who rent golf carts for practical transportation yet don't have much experience operating them or the local traffic conditions. Driving on the street may be legal with some golf cart modifications. Still, inexperienced drivers may not realize how vulnerable they are considering the immense difference in vehicle weight when comparing a golf cart to an SUV, for example.
Tourists may also be lulled into a false sense of security. For example, they may think that since their golf cart rental is legal to drive on the streets, it must mean it's safe to do so. However, some unscrupulous golf cart rental companies are more interested in the potential profit from tourism than actually keeping their customers safe. In some cases, unwitting tourists may be given carts that aren't genuinely street-legal, making them more prone to being involved in an accident.
Who Is Obligated to Pay for a Golf Cart Accident?
Your regular car insurance may apply in some cases, and the other driver's car insurance might also be relevant if your injuries are substantial. Suppose the golf cart was a rental, and you were injured on the roadways of Jacksonville. In that case, the rental company might have some responsibility. For example, it may turn out that the rental was okayed to be taken out on the road but wasn't truly street-legal or an actual low-speed vehicle.
Liability in a golf cart accident is very similar to that of a car accident. Still, it's important to understand what qualifies as a golf cart for insurance purposes. Golf carts, under Florida statutes, are motorized vehicles designed to operate on golf courses and don't have the capacity to exceed speeds of 20 mph. Owners aren't required to carry insurance if their golf cart falls within these specifications. Should you be injured by another party operating an authentic golf cart, you may need to file a regular personal injury claim.
However, owners of golf carts that have been manufactured or modified to be low-speed vehicles (LSVs) are required to have minimum liability coverage and are subject to other requirements that may affect a claim.
Negligent drivers are subject to liability when they cause harm to other golf cart operators, passengers, or even pedestrians. Proving negligence is comparable to motor vehicle collisions. That means every golf cart operator must use care to ensure others don't come to harm through their actions.
Negligence can occur in a wide variety of ways, just like a car accident. For example: driving while intoxicated, speeding, disregarding traffic signals and signs, or driving while distracted. All of these examples could cause serious harm to others because of carelessness.
Under Florida law, golf carts are considered dangerous instrumentalities. This means the golf cart owner could also be liable for any injuries, even if they weren't driving the vehicle when the accident occurred. For example, while a tourist who rents a golf cart for the day may not have the financial means to compensate you, the owner of the rental company will likely carry liability insurance for this very reason.
Determining liability is a critical component in any claim or lawsuit, and that's where a golf cart lawyer in Jacksonville becomes vitally important. At Morgan and Morgan, you'll be assisted by a highly experienced attorney who will be a fierce advocate for you in your time of need.
How Can Morgan and Morgan Help to Increase the Value of My Settlement?
Damages drive the value of any case. Obviously, no one wishes to sustain an injury, but should you be the victim of a golf cart accident and need to receive medical care, the expenses for this will drive up the value of your claim because medical care is not cheap. Furthermore, the pain and suffering that comes from sustaining an injury are figured into damages.
Suppose an insurance adjuster or jury sees that you haven't been to a doctor. In that case, they will assume any injuries you suffered are not that bad and will adapt any settlement offer or award to reflect these assumptions. Additionally, if you receive medical care, you must attend all post-injury medical appointments. This will help support the fact that your injuries were substantial enough to require ongoing care, and further treatment was an essential component in recovering from your injuries.
It's your choice to use whatever doctor you prefer to treat injuries. However, some doctors can be more helpful when it comes to boosting a claimant's cause. In plain English, some doctors may give you a prognosis that you will recover fully from your injuries and won't have any future issues. While this may sound like great news, an examination from a claimant-friendly doctor may reveal that you'll likely require future surgery to fully heal and return to the state you were in pre-accident. Getting a second opinion from another doctor can be extremely valuable, especially if you're still experiencing pain that your original physician doesn't address. At Morgan and Morgan, we routinely make sure our clients are exploring all of their options for recovery rather than taking the word of a single physician.
Many accident victims don't understand that insurance companies aren't going to give you all the information that you need to get the total value of your claim, even if it's their own insurance company. A golf cart lawyer in Jacksonville can take charge of making sure the insurance company gets every bill and medical record that will support the number of damages you're seeking. Many times the bills just keep coming, and you may not realize that you'll be getting individual bills from every person you've seen and every procedure or service you've received. These can include expenses for:
- The ambulance or emergency services
- The emergency room or hospital
- The treating physician
- The radiologist
- A pathology lab for bloodwork
- A surgeon
- An anesthesiologist
- Specialists services
- Follow-up appointments
It's important to be aware that an insurance adjuster isn't going to give you a helping hand to ensure you get everything you're entitled to receive, including lost wages. That's not their job. However, it is our job to make sure they receive every bit of evidence required to make sure you get the maximum compensation possible.
Another technique we may use to increase the likelihood you'll get top dollar for your claim is to show an insurance adjuster past high-dollar jury verdicts we've won for clients who were in similar accidents involving comparable factors. This not only shows that we're serious about representing our client's best interests, but it can also show how much these types of claims are worth and the likelihood that we'll be successful should we be forced to take them to court.
Finally, when we negotiate, we don't just negotiate with the insurance companies. We may also negotiate with the hospital where you received care. Medical expenses can sometimes be negotiated down, especially if you don't have medical insurance. While this doesn't increase the value of your claim, it can impact how much money you're able to pocket after all medical liens are resolved.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Golf Cart Accident Claim in Jacksonville?
Florida's statute of limitations for golf cart accidents and similar personal injury claims is four years from the date of the accident. This means you must file a lawsuit within that timeframe or risk losing the ability to seek compensation now or in the future. The only exception is if the injured party is a minor at the time of the accident, in which case, the statute of limitations deadline starts when the minor reaches the age of 18.
Generally speaking, a golf cart accident should be dealt with sooner rather than later so that vital evidence is preserved and crucial deadlines aren't missed. When we accept a case at Morgan and Morgan Law Firm, we immediately begin to collect and preserve all evidence that may bolster your claim and investigate to find the appropriate party to hold accountable.
We believe that negligent golf cart owners and operators should be compelled to pay for injuries that are their responsibility, and we make it our mission to make sure they do. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We may be able to help you recover compensation for all medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damage resulting from a golf cart accident in Jacksonville.