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Golf Cart Accident Lawyer in Melbourne
Without safety features such as airbags and seatbelts, golf carts pose a significant danger — not only to golfers — but also the tens of thousands of Floridians that navigate local golf cart paths to shop and dine out. Considered the model community for building golf cart paths, the Villages has more than 80,000 residents motoring around in golf carts over pathways that measure more than 90 miles. The large number of golf carts combined with ignoring safety rules has sparked a rapid rise in golf cart accidents in the Sunshine State.
If you sustained injuries caused by a golf cart accident, you might wonder when you need a golf cart lawyer in Melbourne, Florida. The answer is as soon as possible after a golf cart accident. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in handling golf cart cases can help you gather and organize the evidence you need to file a persuasive civil lawsuit. Your legal counsel must prove another party committed one or more acts of negligence to win a favorable legal judgment.
Contacting a highly-rated personal injury lawyer right after a golf cart accident can boost the strength of an insurance claim. A majority of personal injury cases never see the light inside of a courtroom. Your attorney might negotiate a settlement that appeals to both parties. At the very least, a Florida-licensed golf cart accident lawyer helps you submit an insurance claim that receives the approval of an adjuster.
For more than 30 years, the personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have helped our clients recover more than $15 billion in monetary damages. Over the past 10 years, we have experienced a significant increase in litigating golf cart accident cases. Our team of golf accident attorneys knows what to look for when collecting evidence, as well as possesses a thorough understanding of what defines a defective golf cart.
Schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Melbourne golf cart accident lawyers.
Morgan & Morgan
Where Are the Common Locations for Golf Cart Accidents?
Golf cart accidents occur just about anywhere in the Sunshine State. However, some locations experienced more golf cart accidents than other locations in Florida.
Florida leads the United States in the number of golf courses, which translates into leading the country in the number of golf cart accidents. One of the most common reasons for golf cart accidents at Florida golf courses is the overloading of cargo. Standard golf carts can handle between 450 and 800 pounds of cargo, which typically consists of two golfers and golf equipment. Overloading a golf cart can cause the slow-moving vehicle to tip over while making turns.
Golf carts do not move along Florida roads but are adjacent to Florida roads on golf cart paths. Distracted drivers present a significant danger because they are not aware that a much smaller vehicle is about to cross a street or make a turn into a community. Florida motorists must follow state law when it comes to golf carts. They must remain a certain distance behind golf carts, as well as yield the right of way to them like they do for pedestrians at intersections.
The Villages is not the only retirement community that features cart paths for residents to get around conveniently. Retirement communities across Florida have developed a golf cart path system to help residents reach their destinations without having to operate a motor vehicle on busy Florida roads. The reasons for golf cart accidents in retirement communities include making dangerous maneuvers and failing to pay attention at crosswalks.
What Are the Golf Cart Operating Laws in Florida?
One of the traits you want in a Melbourne golf cart accident lawyer is a thorough understanding of the unique laws in Florida that cover golf carts. The rapid rise in the number of golf carts has prompted the Florida legislature to pass golf cart safety laws that everyone operating a golf cart must follow.
Florida law requires golf carts to be equipped with efficient brakes that stop a golf cart in a timely manner. Golf carts must have a reliable steering system and tires that provide enough traction to stop quickly. You must use a rearview mirror and install reflective warning lights in both the front and the rear of a golf cart.
You cannot operate a golf cart on public roads unless a local government determines that golf carts can share the road with other motor vehicles. Local jurisdictions that allow golf carts to share the roads with other types of motor vehicles place golf cart traffic signs at the appropriate locations on the side of roads and streets.
Florida statutes prohibit golf carts from operating on roads and streets that have posted speed limits exceeding 30 miles per hour. You can cross a street that has a posted speed limit of up to 45 miles per hour, but you cannot ride on the street if the posted speed limit is above 30 miles per hour. Anyone operating a golf cart at night must equip the golf cart with headlights, brake lights, and a durable windshield.
Anyone younger than 14 years old cannot operate a golf cart on a public road or street.
How Do I File a Golf Cart Accident Insurance Claim?
Before you consider filing a civil lawsuit, you should submit an insurance claim either with your insurer or the insurance company representing the other party. For example, if you sustained injuries because of a defective golf cart, you can file an insurance claim with the insurer representing the manufacturer of the golf cart.
Your Melbourne golf cart accident lawyer will guide you through the following steps:
Gather and Organize Evidence and Information
Medical bills typically represent the costliest economic damages for any type of personal injury case. You should organize copies of medical bills, as well as the results of diagnostic tests. The insurance company that reviews your claim wants to see evidence that you sustained one or more injuries. Working with a golf cart accident lawyer in Melbourne also helps you submit physical evidence such as photographs taken of the accident scene, as well as the receipts you have kept for the repairs made to personal property.
The insurance company that reviews your claim needs to know the date, time, and location of the golf cart accident. You should submit the names of all parties involved and the names of witnesses that can confirm your version of events. A statement submitted by your physician explains the extent of your injuries, as well as the prognosis of you making a full or partial recovery.
File a Personal Injury Claim
If you have not hired a Melbourne golf cart accident lawyer by now, you should consider hiring one before you submit a personal injury insurance claim. A Florida-licensed golf cart accident lawyer from Melbourne reviews your claim to ensure you have presented the most convincing evidence. Many insurance companies limit the amount of time a claimant has to file a personal injury claim. Your personal injury attorney will ensure you file your insurance claim before the deadline.
After filing an insurance claim, you wait for a response from the claims adjuster representing the insurance company. The insurance claims adjuster sends you a Reservation of Rights (ROR) letter, which is a formal acknowledgment the insurance company has received your claim and an adjuster is assigned to investigate it. The ROR makes it clear the insurance company has not accepted legal liability for causing your injuries.
An insurance claim informs an insurance company about your intent to demand compensation for your injuries. However, you do not demand compensation with the claim. Instead, you wait until you receive the ROR from the insurance company before you submit a demand for compensation. Your Melbourne golf cart accident lawyer calculates the value of your economic damages before assigning a value for non-economic damages. Economic damages come with a price tag such as the cost of medical treatment. Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering do not come with a price tag. Your personal injury litigator must calculate a value for non-economic damages based on the value of economic damages.
Review Settlement Offer and Make a Counteroffer
Your Melbourne golf cart accident lawyer plays a pivotal role during this step by engaging the claims adjuster in a series of counteroffers. The insurance company proposes a settlement, which might be below what you want for compensation. Your legal counsel makes a counteroffer to initiate negotiations. You should know the insurance company you are dealing with does not have your best financial interests in mind. Because of this fact, you should expect the negotiations to go on for at least a few days.
If negotiations stall, your Melbourne personal injury attorney has to decide whether to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. If your case goes to trial, your legal counsel prepares you by explaining what questions to expect from the defendant’s legal representation.
How Do I Find the Right Golf Cart Accident Lawyer in Melbourne, Florida?
Now that you know when you need a golf accident attorney, the next question concerns how do you find the right one to represent you.
Network with Friends and Family Members
Word of mouth advertising remains a highly effective way to find the best golf cart accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL. Recommendations from trusted friends and family members can dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend searching for the right legal counsel. If you do not receive a recommendation from someone in your inner circle, expand your network to include neighbors, attorneys, and professional peers. An attorney who does not practice personal injury law might know a lawyer who specializes in handling golf cart accident cases.
Florida Bar Association
Like other state bar associations, the Florida Bar Association has established a website that helps Floridians learn more about different law practices, as well as how to connect with the right legal counsel. The Find a Lawyer feature allows you to input criteria into search boxes to narrow your search. You also learn whether any lawyer on your shortlist has faced or is facing disciplinary action from a judge.
Read Online Reviews
Online reviews should not be the sole factor for choosing a golf accident attorney. Look at online reviews as confirmation of the research you have conducted up to this point. You should look for common descriptions of attorneys, such as terms like integrity, transparency, and responsive communication.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with one of our Melbourne golf cart accident lawyers.