Golf Cart Lawyer in Big Pine Key30338 Overseas Highway, Unit 7
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
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Golf Cart Lawyer in Big Pine Key
It's no wonder why golf carts are a popular form of transportation in and around the Big Pine Key area. There's just something about the tropical climate that makes open-air travel attractive. The ease and convenience of driving a golf cart in the Keys are one of the reasons why many residents choose to buy packages to make their golf carts street-legal. Most rental companies also make their golf carts street-legal so tourists can enjoy seeing the sights in true tropical fashion.
While golf carts are affordable and entertaining to drive, there are some inherent risks for injury, just like any other form of transportation. Suppose you or a loved one has been injured in a golf cart accident. In that case, you may be wondering if you need the help of a golf cart lawyer in Big Pine Key to hold the responsible party accountable. Morgan and Morgan Law Firm is here to help.
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Why Are Golf Carts So Dangerous?
Golf carts aren't generally considered dangerous. However, they certainly can be, especially when drivers don't take the possible dangers seriously. This is particularly true of drivers that aren't familiar with golf carts and assume low speeds mean injuries can't occur. Another issue is that people underestimate the damage that golf carts can do and may let their guard down. Unfortunately, even at low speeds, catastrophic injuries can occur during a collision or a maneuvering mishap.
One of the most pleasing aspects of a golf cart is the fact that they are not enclosed. However, that's one of the reasons they are so dangerous. No enclosure and the common lack of safety restraints mean the danger of being ejected during a crash is highly probable.
Another reason golf carts are dangerous is that these vehicles are not subject to the strict oversight of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because of their low speeds. Any vehicle that travels over 20 mph is subject to the same laws that govern passenger vehicles. Still, since most golf carts can only go about 20 mph, they are only subject to local and state laws.
Even slow speeds can lead to serious injury or death to occupants and pedestrians. While these vehicles seem small compared to regular cars, some can weigh as much as 1500 pounds. A rollover could easily crush the limbs of occupants and cause severe injury to people who are ejected.
Even though it is illegal to drive golf carts in many areas of the Keys, the ease and versatility of driving these vehicles may tempt some to enter prohibited roadways which is extremely dangerous. The size difference between golf carts and other vehicles is substantial. If a golf cart collides with a truck, SUV, or other kinds of automobiles, there is not much protection. These kinds of accidents are often deadly.
Are Golf Cart Accidents Common?
In one study that looked at data from 2007 through 2017, researchers found that about 156,040 people visited the emergency room to treat injuries received from a golf cart accident. The annual rate of injury stayed steady throughout the study period. However, with the growing popularity of golf carts, it's not just golfers getting hurt anymore. More and more children are becoming victims of golf cart accidents. Many of whom are 12 and younger. 63,500 children in the U.S. have been injured in golf cart accidents between 2010 and 2019.
What Are Some Factors That Contribute to Golf Cart Accidents?
Golf cart accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, which can include:
Making sharp or sudden turns - Sharp or sudden turns can cause occupants to be ejected. This is especially true for passengers as the move can be unexpected, and they don't have the steering wheel to hold them steady as the driver does. Golf carts are also top-heavy, so they are prone to tipping over, particularly when a turn is taken too fast or sharp.
Distracted driving - Since golf carts are often used for pleasure, it's easy for drivers to become careless and neglect the task at hand. Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention from the road. Since golf carts travel slowly, drivers may assume it's safe to talk or text on the phone. However, this makes it easier to hit a curb, run into a fixed object, or another vehicle.
Inattentive drivers may not see the golf cart - In areas where it's permissible, regular vehicles and golf carts may be sharing the road. An inattentive driver in a passenger vehicle may be more prone to colliding with a golf cart due to the low speed and smaller size of the golf cart.
Horsing around in a golf cart - Golf carts are designed for recreation, so it's easy to forget the dangers of horsing around, such as trying to nudge other golf carts or speeding around pedestrians.
Overloaded carts - As with any vehicle, golf carts have weight limitations for safety. These limits are in place to ensure that the cart doesn't tip over and that the brakes won't fail. When too much weight is on the golf cart, a quick turn could end in a rollover, and the braking system may not function properly.
Impaired driving - Drivers who operate golf carts under the influence of alcohol or drugs (even prescription drugs) put themselves and others in danger. Impaired drivers have slower reflexes, are often overconfident, and lose the ability to think clearly and use good judgment. It is also illegal to operate a golf cart while under the influence. Should an accident happen, the impaired driver will likely be held liable for damaged property and injuries.
Who Is Liable for a Golf Cart Accident in Big Pine Key?
If another party caused you to become injured or damaged your property, a golf cart lawyer in Big Pine Key might be able to help you recover compensation. Determining liability is often the most challenging part of any case. People don't even need a driver's license or any special training to operate a golf cart in Florida. In some circumstances, a golf cart accident may happen on private property. If the accident was caused by some faulty component of the golf cart, whoever maintained the vehicle or the manufacturer could come into play. The following factors should be used to determine liability for a golf cart accident in or around Big Pine Key:
Who was driving? When operating any motor vehicle, drivers have a duty of care to drive responsibly. Most accidents occur because of recklessness or operator error. If the other driver was at fault for your injuries, they might be liable to pay for any expenses you incur. If the driver is underage, then their parents or guardians may be on the hook.
Who owns or maintains the golf cart? Suppose you were injured because of a faulty part or maintenance issue. In that case, the owner or person who is responsible for maintaining the cart could be the liable party. The Keys has dozens of golf cart rental places, even outside the putting greens, as it's such a popular mode of transportation. If the golf cart you rented had subpar repair work or wasn't maintained up to standard, and that caused an accident, they may be responsible for paying your expenses.
Were the risks made known? When you rent or use a golf cart, the owner or their employees have a duty to warn you of the dangers of operating it, as well as showing you how to use any safety equipment. Suppose you weren't given any information. In that case, they might be responsible for damages.
Who is the property owner? Sometimes an accident can occur where the driver has no responsibility at all. Instead, the property owner is responsible for having dangerous conditions that aren't fixed, or visitors and guests aren't warned of the hazards. Under these circumstances, you may be able to recover compensation through a premises liability claim.
How Does Florida's No-Fault Insurance Law Impact a Golf Cart Accident?
Since golf carts are not considered motor vehicles under Florida's no-fault insurance law, injured parties are not covered by personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Instead, individuals who suffered some loss must seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, owners must carry minimum liability coverage if the golf cart is a low-speed vehicle (LSV).
Suppose you are in a collision with a regular passenger vehicle, and the other driver was at fault. In that case, they may be liable for your injuries, and insurance may cover them.
What Kind of Compensation Could I Get for a Golf Cart Accident?
Morgan and Morgan can help you sue the responsible parties for damages, which may include:
- Lost wages
- Future lost income (if the injuries impact your ability to work)
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Repair or replacement value of any damaged property (golf cart, eyeglasses, cell phone, etc.)
- Travel expenses for medical care
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Funeral and burial expenses if the accident was fatal
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for a Golf Cart Accident in Florida?
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a golf cart accident in Florida is two years from the date of the incident. Surviving family members also have a two-year deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the case of a fatality. If insurance is involved, insurers will have their own deadlines for making claims. In both instances, missing a deadline could jeopardize your chances of ever recovering compensation, so it makes sense to get in touch with a Morgan and Morgan golf cart lawyer in Big Pine Key as soon as possible.
What Are the Most Common Golf Cart Accident Injuries?
According to data from the National Safety Council, older adults and children are most likely to suffer injuries in a golf car accident. While collisions that occur at lower speeds are generally safer for drivers and occupants, the lack of safety equipment on golf carts makes them far more hazardous. Common injuries may include:
- Soft tissue damage (cuts, road rash, bruises, sprains)
- Head injuries
Work With an Expert Golf Cart Lawyer in Big Pine Key
Morgan and Morgan Law Firm can offer you the support you need after a golf cart accident in the Keys. We are knowledgeable about all the aspects that may affect your case and can provide a winning legal strategy to ensure you get the compensation you need. During your free case evaluation, we will demonstrate how our law firm is not like other law firms. When we take on a case, we are committed to getting our clients back on track for a successful future and making sure negligent parties are held accountable. Our fee is free unless we win. Contact us today.