Golf Cart Injuries Are Increasing
Golf cart injuries used to be confined largely to golf courses. Not any more.
Only about half of golf cart injuries occur on courses now. The use of these vehicles around adult communities, golf course communities and higher price gated communities have increased so much, that up to half of golf cart injuries occur "off-course" such as on private roads and paths, sidewalks and on larger homesites. It is reported that there are an estimated 13,000 golf cart related ER visits every year. More disturbing is the rise in injuries to children and young persons under 16. Approximately 40% of golf cart injuries involve this young group.
Many of these injuries involve simply falling from the cart. Because of their low speed, these carts don't have seatbelts but rely on handholds. However, even at low speeds, being thrown from a golf cart can result in serious injuries. Yet, precisely because of their low speeds, they may be entrusted to those too young or too irresponsible to operate them in a safe fashion.
Golf Carts Are Motor Vehicles Under Florida Law
Both under the statutory definitions and Florida Supreme Court case law, golf carts are deemed to be "motor vehicles."
This is important because, under Florida law, a "motor vehicle" is a "dangerous instrumentality." Both the operator and the owner of a "dangerous instrumentality" can be held responsible if its negligent operation results in injuries.
However, this simple principle can lead to a complex analysis as to compensation to injured persons.
Is There Insurance? It "Depends"
Because of their use in ever-widening circumstances, whether and what insurance applies can require a detailed analysis.
If the cart is rented from a course and the accident occurs on the course, there may be no question as to insurer responsibility. But what if a golf cart is being driven from a home on a private road to the course? What if the cart is on the sidewalk? What if an inexperienced driver is entrusted with a cart, whips around a corner and a child is thrown out? What if an intoxicated golfer decides he can simply drive 3 or 4 blocks from the course to his home?
Depending on the circumstances, the course's liability carrier or the driver's Homeowner's carrier or even his personal "umbrella" coverage may apply. The unique facts of each case will require an experienced Florida injury attorney to analyse to discover the maximum and applicable coverage.
If you or a loved one is injured in a golf cart related accident, don't rely on insurance adjustors (who have their own agenda) to tell you your options or rights. As soon as possible, consult with a personal injury attorney at 866-413-5525 and protect your right to compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering.