Do I Need a Golf Cart Accident Lawyer in Lakeland?2012 S. Florida Avenue,
Lakeland, FL 33803
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Golf Cart Accident Lawyer in Lakeland
In Florida, golf carts are no longer meant just for golf courses.
Think about the age-restricted community called The Villages, which sits about 30 miles due north of Lakeland, FL. Golf carts are a way of life in this vast retirement community. You can meet a friend for lunch, have your hair done in the afternoon, and yes, finish nine holes of golf all by riding a golf cart to each venue. With Florida home to the most golf courses in the country and the fact that golf carts are a common mode of transportation, it should not surprise you that golf cart accidents represent one of the most common types of personal injury cases.
Because of a lack of protective equipment, golf cart riders are especially vulnerable to sustaining serious injuries. Despite an increase in safety awareness, the sheer number of golf carts in the Sunshine State has resulted in a surge of golf cart accidents. If you suffered injuries that were caused by a golf cart accident, do you need a golf cart accident lawyer in Lakeland, Florida? The answer is yes because you want to collect enough evidence that indicates negligence caused your injuries. Even if you cannot prove negligence, you still need legal counsel to file a persuasive insurance claim.
Since 1988, Morgan & Morgan has helped our clients win legal judgments totaling more than $15 billion. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys handles a wide variety of cases, including golf cart accidents. With the rapid rise in the number of accidents involving golf carts in Florida, this type of personal injury case is approaching the numbers generated by slip and fall cases. Take action today on your golf cart accident case by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the skilled litigators at Morgan & Morgan.
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What Are the Most Common Causes of Golf Cart Accidents in Florida?
One of the first items on the agenda during a free case evaluation involves determining what caused your golf cart accident. Once your personal injury lawyer from Morgan & Morgan determines the cause of your golf cart accident, the next step is to discover whether negligence played a role in your injuries.
Golf carts typically possess a cargo capacity of between 450 and 800 pounds, which comfortably sits two people, as well as their golf bags and accessories. Because golf carts have emerged as a viable form of daily transportation, some riders pack their golf carts with too much cargo. Overloaded golf carts are highly susceptible to tipping over, especially during sharp turns. The blame for this type of golf cart accident usually falls on the shoulders of the person who overloaded a golf cart with cargo.
Golf car accidents share many of the same root causes of car accidents. Speeding, failure to yield, and not using turn signals all can produce a serious accident. Failing to follow common traffic laws can cause a golf car accident. The same principle applies to drivers of motor vehicles, which can produce immense devastation when they make an impact with much smaller golf carts.
Poor Seat Belt Design
This cause of golf cart accidents is the result of shoddy workmanship by the manufacturer of a golf cart. A seat belt represents the only protection golf cart riders have when struck by another golf cart or motor vehicle. If a golf cart seat belt fails to keep a rider secure, the rider can suffer severe injuries when struck by a vehicle. Poor seat belt design falls under the legal niche called product liability.
Another similarity a golf cart operator has with drivers of motor vehicles concerns distractions. From texting and driving to reaching for a golf ball inside a bag, distracted driving can lead to an accident. Passengers are especially vulnerable to sustaining serious injuries because they have nothing to use for bracing themselves before impact. The Florida texting and driving ban enacted in 2013 also applies to operators of golf carts.
If you sustained injuries because of a distracted golf cart operator, you should contact a Lakeland golf cart accident lawyer to build a case for negligence.
What Is Comparative Negligence in Florida?
Each state has passed laws that define the negligence shared between two or more parties. When one party assumes all the blame for causing a personal injury incident, the injured victim can seek monetary damages by filing a civil lawsuit. Most states follow some type of comparative negligence law, which means both parties involved in a civil lawsuit might assume partial responsibility for causing a personal injury incident.
Florida has established pure comparative negligence law and if you want to file a civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages, you should understand what pure comparative negligence means for your golf cart accident case. In general, pure comparative negligence requires a judge hearing a civil lawsuit to determine the percentage of fault each party should assume for causing a personal injury incident.
Let’s say a driver of a motor vehicle backed up into your golf cart, which resulted in a moderate form of whiplash. The driver of the motor vehicle might assume 75 percent of the blame for not checking every safety mirror before backing up. However, the judge hearing the case might assign you 25 percent of the fault because you parked the golf cart in a restricted area. If you filed a civil lawsuit for $100,000, your compensation decreases to $75,000 if the judge finds you 25 percent liable for causing the golf cart accident.
What Are the Four Elements of Proving Negligence?
Your golf cart accident lawyer in Lakeland must prove the four elements of negligence.
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty of care
- Monetary damages
Duty of Care
Your golf cart accident attorney must demonstrate the other party owed you a duty of care. For example, if you suffered injuries that were caused by a defective seat belt, your lawyer has to demonstrate the manufacturer of the golf cart owed you a duty of care.
Breach of Duty of Care
Breaching a duty of care means the other party failed to take sufficient action to protect you against a golf cart accident. For the seat belt example, your Lakeland golf cart accident attorney can show the manufacturer of the golf cart failed to install the seat belt properly.
Causation involves proving negligence caused your injuries. The defective seat belt failed to keep you secure during an accident, which resulted in suffering from moderate whiplash. Causation for golf car accident cases requires submitting physical evidence that shows the other party committed one or more acts of negligence.
The defective seat belt must have produced monetary damages. The medical bills associated with your whiplash constitute economic damages that complete the four elements you need to prove negligence. Monetary damages also can include non-economic factors such as pain and suffering.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Golf Cart Accident Lawsuit?
One of the most important points a Lakeland golf cart accident lawyer makes during a free case evaluation concerns the deadline for filing a personal injury claim in Florida. The Sunshine State has established a statute of limitations of four years for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Four years seems like plenty of time to prepare for a civil lawsuit, but you should act with a sense of urgency by filing a civil lawsuit as soon as possible after a golf cart accident.
With medical bills piling up, you want to recover financial losses as soon as you can. Your Lakeland golf cart accident attorney does not provide you with an advance to take care of medical bills. Another reason to file a civil lawsuit promptly is to get the most accurate version of events from witnesses to the golf cart accident. If you fail to file a civil lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations, you can expect the court to dismiss your case.
What Should I Look for in a Golf Car Accident Attorney?
Now that you know that the answer to the question, “Do I need a golf cart accident lawyer in Lakeland” is yes, the next question to answer involves knowing what you should look for in the best personal injury attorney.
Specializes in Golf Cart Accident Cases
Because of the unique laws passed at the local level concerning the operation of golf carts, you want to work with legal counsel that specializes in litigating golf cart accident cases. Your lawyer should understand the mechanics of how a golf cart runs, as well as state law as it applies to golf cart safety. An experienced attorney who specializes in handling golf cart accident cases should remain current with legal precedent and statutory law changes that apply to golf carts.
Familiar With Medical Terms
The most substantial type of monetary damages is the amount of your medical bills. You have to pay upfront for diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and possibly physical therapy sessions. Your car accident lawyer in Lakeland, Florida must have a deep understanding of medical terms to present a convincing argument for you to receive just compensation for your injuries. Knowing where to turn for expert witness testimony also is an important element for winning a golf cart accident lawsuit.
Handles Your Case the Entire Time
The last thing you want is to hire an attorney who meets with you for a free case evaluation, only to disappear during the remainder of your case. Your golf accident lawyer should work with you every step of the way. Some personal injury attorneys delegate responsibilities to paralegals and/or less experienced litigators to free up time for other cases.
A personal injury case is not just about taking a case to trial. In fact, your legal counsel should want to avoid the costly and time-consuming trial phase. Negotiating a favorable settlement can get you the same amount of compensation you would have received by going to trial. This means you should hire a personal injury attorney who is successful at reaching compromises that yield favorable financial settlements.
Hire a Golf Cart Accident Lawyer in Lakeland, Florida
If you sustained one or more injuries that resulted from a golf cart accident, you should act quickly by contacting a Lakeland golf cart accident lawyer. Your legal counsel helps you gather and organize the evidence you need to build a convincing case. Getting legal support from experienced personal injury litigation can help you prove the other party committed one or more acts of negligence.
Schedule a free case evaluation with one of the highly-rated personal injury attorneys from Morgan & Morgan.