Golf Cart Accident Lawyers in Tallahassee313 North Monroe Street, Suite 401
Tallahassee, FL 32301
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Tallahassee Golf Cart Accident Lawyers
Tallahassee, Florida, is home to at least nine beautiful golf courses. These golf courses are equipped with golf carts that provide an easy and convenient means of transport within the golf course. These mini vehicles are also used for convenient transportation in other places, such as apartment complexes, hotels, etc.
However, most people do not realize that golf carts are prone to accidents. A recent study revealed that more than 6,500 children are injured by golf carts in the US each year. If you or your loved one has been injured by a golf cart in Tallahassee, read on to understand your rights and how Morgan and Morgan can help.
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What Causes Golf Cart Accidents?
Driving a golf cart is not the same as driving a standard vehicle. Even though both vehicles seem to have almost similar features, golf carts require an extra degree of caution, especially when driving through narrow roads and alleys.
When used in public spaces such as apartment complexes, hotels, or similar environments, golf carts provide a convenient way of moving around. But on the other hand, they also pose a great risk to the driver, passengers, and pedestrians.
Because these vehicles require more skill to control, many drivers end up causing accidents. And that is not the only reason for such accidents.
Golf carts are not your ordinary, day-to-day ride. You would not find such vehicles stuck in traffic on the freeway on your way to work. Instead, you will find them on less busy routes. For this reason, many drivers lack the experience required to drive a golf cart.
In fact, some people assume that driving a golf cart is the same as driving a car. Although both vehicles might have the same features, golf carts are slightly more complex than most people would imagine. For instance, most golf cart engines do not start until you hit the gas pedal. But if you do not know this simple rule, you may hit the gas pedal too hard and crash into pedestrians.
Think of a bicycle as an example. Although a bicycle might share almost the same design as a motorcycle, riding a motorcycle is much different from riding a bicycle.
Also, some drivers take advantage of the fact that golf carts are usually driven in unsupervised areas. You do not have to worry about a traffic stop when driving a golf cart on a golf course. After all, that is what they are intended for. However, some people drive these carts while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, increasing the risk of accidents on golf courses and other areas.
In some cases, these accidents occur due to negligence and bad decision-making. For example, although golf carts travel at a relatively lower speed than traditional vehicles, many have a top speed of 25 miles an hour, which is more than enough to cause serious injuries and even death in some cases.
Defective carts can also cause accidents even when the driver exercises care. The defect could result from poor maintenance or even a manufacturing problem.
Keep in mind that in Florida, you do not need a driver’s license to drive a golf cart. You are allowed to drive just as long as you are 14 years old. In order words, your driving skills do not matter, but your age does, which is yet another recipe for disaster.
What Are Some Common Golf Cart Injuries?
Golf cart injuries are usually severe because these vehicles lack certain safety features, such as airbags and seatbelts. Some common injuries caused by golf carts include:
- Traumatic brain damage
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Soft tissue damage
Who Can I Sue if Injured by a Golf Cart?
The first thing you need to know is that when these accidents happen, at least one party is responsible, even if it is the owner or driver.
The golf cart manufacturer might be held responsible if the accident occurred due to a manufacturing defect. For example, since golf carts usually run on batteries, a defective battery could cause the vehicle to shut down abruptly, throwing the passengers off the vehicle. In that case, an experienced golf car accident attorney can collaborate with a product liability lawyer to build a strong case against the manufacturer.
The owner of the property in which the accident occurred might also be held responsible. For instance, suppose the property owner knew or should have known about the existence of a dangerous condition on the property, such as an exposed tree stump but failed to warn the golf cart drivers. In that case, the property owner might be held responsible for the injuries the drivers sustained.
When people rent these small vehicles, whether at golf courses, country clubs, or other facilities, they expect them to be safe. Therefore, the business might be responsible for injuries sustained by a poorly maintained golf cart.
The same applies if the golf cart business fails to hire the right technicians to take care of these machines. For instance, take an apartment complex as an example. The janitor might not know anything about golf carts, but their employer (property owner) might have them repair these machines, ensuring they are always in good condition. But if the janitor does not know anything about maintaining golf carts, they may not be able to detect the warning signs in time to avoid an accident.
And when such accidents occur, the property owner will be more responsible because they opted for a ‘shortcut’ rather than hiring someone who is actually experienced and qualified to take care of these mini vehicles.
Can I Still Sue the Defendant if I Signed a Waiver?
Signing a waiver does not mean that the defendant is not liable for your injuries. In fact, many businesses use waivers to free themselves from liability by finding a way to excuse their negligence. So, yes, you may be able to use the defendant even if you signed a waiver. An experienced attorney can review the waiver and identify possible loopholes.
The attorney can also file a lawsuit based on public policy, voiding whatever the waiver entails.
What Damages Can I Claim After a Golf Cart Accident?
The damages you may be able to claim will depend on the specifics of the accident. Generally, plaintiffs can recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Golf cart repairs
- Property damage
Do Golf Cart Accidents Have a Statute of Limitations?
Yes, in Tallahassee and throughout Florida, you have up to four years from the accident date to file a golf cart accident lawsuit.
Can I File a Golf Cart Accident Lawsuit if I Was Injured as a Pedestrian?
Yes, anyone injured by a golf cart can file a lawsuit if they have a valid case. As a pedestrian, you expect golf card drivers to be careful when driving these machines. You also expect the owners to guarantee that these carts are in good condition before hitting the road. Additionally, you expect the manufacturer to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy.
In other words, each person or entity owes you a duty of care when operating, managing, or manufacturing golf carts. So if you get injured as a pedestrian, it is within your rights to sue.
Do Golf Carts Need to Have Insurance in Florida?
According to the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, golf carts do not need insurance to operate in Florida. These vehicles also do not need titles or registration to operate in this state.
How Does Golf Cart Insurance Work in Florida?
Golf cart insurance laws in Florida are complicated. Here is an overview.
As mentioned earlier, golf carts do not need to be registered or titled in Florida. However, if you own a modified and registered golf cart in this state, the Department of Motor Vehicle considers it a Low-Speed Vehicle.
LSVs are classified as regular vehicles in Florida. Therefore, you will need to have automobile insurance. You will also need Personal Injury Protection just like you would when driving a standard vehicle.
Bear in mind that failure to purchase automobile coverage and PIP insurance while operating an LSV is considered a breach of traffic and insurance laws in the state. Therefore, you may face penalties and risk having your license suspended.
Here’s another scenario.
Suppose the golf cart is unregistered. In that case, you may include it in your homeowners' insurance or purchase a stand-alone insurance policy to protect the driver, passengers, and pedestrians and provide coverage for property damage as well.
Do I Need a Golf Cart Accident Lawyer?
If there is one thing you might have learned in this article is the fact that golf cart accident cases are complex. The issue of liability is always subject to further debate. Many businesses know how complex these cases are, so they will have you sign a waiver before renting a golf cart.
It is even worse when you need to identify the party responsible for compensation.
- What if the driver was uninsured?
- What if I was partly at fault for the accident?
- What if I signed a waiver promising not to sue?
- Should I file a claim with my homeowners' insurance?
- If so, what will the insurance cover or not cover?
These are just some of the many questions that arise from these cases. Having an experienced golf cart attorney gives you peace of mind knowing that you do not need to worry about these complex laws.
Such an attorney can:
- Investigate the accident to determine liability
- Collect crucial evidence to support your case
- Calculate the damages suffered due to the accident
- File a golf cart accident claim or lawsuit
- Negotiate a reasonable settlement on your behalf
And so much more.
How Can Morgan and Morgan Golf Cart Accident Lawyers Help?
Golf cart accident cases are complex; there is no doubt about that. However, you should not hire any attorney you come across just because you need legal representation. Such a decision could complicate the case even further.
Rather, you need an attorney who understands Florida's golf cart laws and has experience handling such cases. Experience aside, you need an attorney with powerful resources to fight for you, especially in a case as complex as this.
If that is what you need, Morgan and Morgan can help.
We have been fighting for the rights of Florida residents for more than 30 years and have secured over $15 billion as compensation for different injuries.
That is the kind of track record you need when looking for the right attorney to represent you. When you hire a law firm with a history of winning, you can rest easy knowing that they will not settle for less than what you deserve. This is because they are not desperate to win — they only settle if the settlement reflects the actual value of your case.
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